Man Utd told its time for Dean Henderson to step up and challenge David de Gea

Dean Henderson is ready to ­challenge David de Gea for the No.1 role at ­ Manchester United, according to goalkeeping guru Eric Steele.

Steele brought Henderson to Old Trafford as a 14-year-old and helped hone De Gea’s ­reflexes when the Spaniard ­arrived from Atletico Madrid.

Now United’s former ­goalkeeping coach thinks the pair should go head-to-head next season – a move which he ­believes would stimulate both of their careers.

Henderson is coming to the end of his second season on loan at Sheffield United and the Blades would love to keep him, while a number of other Premier League clubs, ­including Chelsea, are ­monitoring the 23-year-old’s situation.

Henderson faces Burnley today, with Steele ­insisting he is now capable of challenging De Gea, who has come in for ­criticism from ­ex-United great Roy Keane.

“I would like to see him play at Manchester United. There’s a huge difference between playing in the Championship and the Premier League for Sheffield United,” said Steele.

“He’s done a terrific job ­stepping up and Chris Wilder has recognised that.

“The challenge now to Dean should be, ‘Can you play at Manchester United? Can you play in front of 76,000? Can you take on David de Gea?’.

“I think it would also be good for David. Coming up to 30, I think he needs a fresh challenge – one from within the club through Dean ­Henderson. Ole Gunnar ­Solskjaer has to make a big decision.

“It could depend on whether United are playing Champions League football next season. One thing is pretty certain: I can’t see them selling Dean. It’s also a big decision for Dean.

“I brought him in as a raw 14-year-old from Carlisle. We knew then we were bringing in potential. He’s still young at 23.”

A successful ­goalkeeping consultant, Steele – whose ­clients include the FA – saw Keane’s attack on De Gea after his lapse against Tottenham in which the former United ­skipper labelled him “the most overrated goalkeeper I’ve seen in a long time”.

Steele added: “David is ­experienced enough to stand up for himself and say, ‘Fine, error made’. He’s coming up to 400 games for United.

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“He’s going to go past Peter Schmeichel’s Old Trafford ­appearances in the next few games. You don’t play 400 games for Manchester United and win six or seven trophies and not be up there. To achieve that over the last nine years you’ve got to be at some level – and David is right up there.”

“He’s been the club’s Player of the Year on four occasions and been recognised by his peers five times – being ­selected in the PFA Premier League team of the season. He’s a proven winner.

“But you always need a ­challenge – and that should come from Dean Henderson next season.”

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