Dean Henderson slams "criminal" Man Utd behaviour and admits Erik ten Hag snub
A furious Dean Henderson has revealed that he snubbed talks with new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before leaving on loan for Nottingham Forest - as he claimed the Red Devils had gone back on promises made to him.
Henderson had broken into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's starting line-up in the second-half of the 2020/2021 season. That was enough to earn him a place in the England squad for Euro 2020 and he was expected to take over as United's first choice 'keeper for the following campaign after David de Gea had endured a difficult campaign.
But an ill-timed bout of Covid-19 and de Gea's return to form meant that Henderson spent last year sat kicking his heels on the bench. He made just three senior appearances in total, with none of those outings coming in the Premier League.
With little prospect of displacing De Gea despite a fresh start under Ten Hag, Henderson opted to depart Old Trafford for a season-long loan move to newly-promoted Forest. And ahead of making his first top-flight appearance since May 2021 when they meet Newcastle this weekend, the Englishman took the opportunity to slam his parent club for what he described as "criminal" behaviour.
"I didn't want the manager to come in and be able to see me in training. I knew he'd probably want to keep me, so I tried to do it all before I left for the season. I told all the hierarchy I need to go and play football, I don't want to be here playing second fiddle," he told talkSPORT.
"It was all planned out. I was almost gone before the manager came through the door and I haven't spoken to him since. To be honest with you, it's probably been the toughest 12 months of my career. It's been tough, it's been hard and I'm so happy I've got out the other end of it. I'm so excited to be here and ready to go.
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"The conversation I had coming out of that Euros squad was ' you're coming back here to be the number one goalkeeper'. I got Covid, come back, I should have still been the number one, but unfortunately, no-one followed through with anything they told me.
"It was frustrating because I turned down so many good loans last summer for that reason and they wouldn't let me go. So, it was frustrating. To sit there and waste 12 months, it's criminal really at my age.
"I was fuming. But I worked hard off the pitch and on the training pitch to keep improving day in, day out. So I'm really excited to be here. I'm looking forward to the season with Forest."
Henderson is certain to start for Forest when they travel to Newcastle in their first game since winning the Championship play-off final. Steve Cooper saw last season's starting keeper Brice Samba leave the City Ground, with Henderson coming in as his replacement.
The 25-year-old will hope that he can earn enough game-time to be recalled to the England squad in time for the World Cup also. But it appears that he is burning his bridges back at Old Trafford, despite still having two years remaining on his contract when he returns to the club next summer.