Dean Henderson speaks of England emotion and learning how to be a better number two

Tuesday 05 May 2020
England's Dean Henderson was the latest goalkeeper to 'Pass the Gloves On' for FA Education

Dean Henderson admits his first call-up to the England squad brought a tear to his eye last year.

The goalkeeper, currently on loan with Sheffield United from Manchester United, was the latest player to speak to our head of goalkeeping Tim Dittmer for FA Learning’s new ‘Pass the Gloves On’ feature after being nominated by his former Young Lions team-mate Freddie Woodman.

And in a four-part interview on the new FA Learning YouTube channel, the 23 year old admits that when he received the call to Gareth Southgate's squad in October 2019, it brought out all of his emotions.

"It was unbelievable, that's what you've worked for your whole life,” he said.

"To get that call...I remember being in an airport at the time, and for the first time in years, I shedded a little tear.

"It was like, England, wow, it's mad that.

"But then you go through the same process again [aiming to get in the team], I've been there many times before and hopefully I can keep this going and get through again.

"I've been there before with the U21s, it looked like it was impossible when I didn't have the shirt so I've just got to keep going and my foot on the accelerator and just see where it takes me."

Henderson's career has really started to blossom in the last three seasons, with a string of successful loan spells with the likes of Shrewsbury and the Blades as well as becoming a regular in the England development squads before his senior step last year.

And he admits all of those experiences have helped him mature and develop into a different individual from the raw 14-year-old who arrived at Old Trafford from his hometown of Whitehaven all those years ago.


"The biggest thing I've had to overcome, is being a number two and pretending I'm happy," he admitted.

"There's not a worse thing than if you've got a number two who's on you all the time saying 'I should be playing...

"I know that from self experience because I had it and it's like, 'please mate, give it a rest'

"You need that supportive thing, but in my younger days I just didn't have it and I couldn't accept it - it wouldn't enter my mind to even go and be on a bench.

"But as you get older, you start to realise that it is a team game but when you're young, you're thinking about how you get there.

"That is the biggest thing I've had to overcome, going to the U20 World Cup at 50-50 on whether I was going to play or not and staying out there for six weeks and not playing and really supporting Fred [Woodman].

"He'll stand by that, as I stood by him and supported him every day and pushed him on every single day.

"He did phenomenal that tournament and he'll probably say I helped push him on."

Henderson in action for England U21s at last sunmer's U21 EURO

Cumbrian-born Henderson also revealed how he’s been keeping active during the current lockdown, to make sure he’s prepared for a return to training whenever that might be.

"I've been back over in Manchester, doing bits of training as I've got more facilities here to do it,” he revealed.

"I've been in the gym every single day and just having weekends off, but also trying to keep myself busy and my mind occupied and active.

"We're on Monday and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with the Sheffield United training regime, which includes bikes and upper or lower body sessions.

"The more you can stay active, the clearer the mind is so it's been good.”

Watch the full four-part interview with Dean on the FA Learning YouTube channel and subscribe for more.

By Nicholas Veevers