Fans of lower league football will have undoubtedly noticed the progress one player in particular made last season. Shrewsbury performed admirably and qualified for the League One playoffs final, and it was goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who excelled and helped his team’s cause.
The Shrews lost the battle for promotion at Wembley against Rotherham but finishing in the top-6 alone was a great achievement. During the course of the campaign, Henderson played 48 games, managing 19 clean sheets along the way.
The 21-year-old rose through the youth ranks at Carlisle before signing for Manchester United in 2011. He then went out on loan, first to Stockport, where he kept 3 clean sheets in 9 games. In the 2016/17 campaign, he played 7 games for Grimsby, keeping 4 clean sheets. He then signed for Shrewsbury on a season-long loan deal last summer.
His amazing performance has naturally led to interest from a number of teams. His parent club, United, have also offered him a new contract, but he’s yet to sign. Fulham, Bristol City and Stoke City are said to be monitoring him closely.
Out of those clubs, Stoke, who were relegated from the Premier League, seems like the best destination for the player. England goalkeeper Jack Butland is expected to leave the Potters after the World Cup, with Chelsea and Liverpool rumoured to be interested in him.
This means Henderson might get the chance to be a regular starter for the Championship side, who will be looking for a quick return to the top-flight. New Stoke boss Gary Rowett will definitely need to buy a new keeper, and the England Under-21 international looks like he could fill the void created by Butland’s expected departure.
Bristol City are also on the lookout for a new custodian. Luke Steele has been released and Frank Fielding might depart, leaving the Robins with just Max O’Leary in goal. However, if Fielding stays, Henderson will probably be his deputy, and that might hamper the development of the youngster.
Fulham could be an interesting choice, mainly because they’ve returned to the Premier League. Again though, Henderson will probably act as an understudy to Marcus Bettinelli, and that too only if David Button leaves for Brighton.
After a strong season in the third tier, Henderson now needs to keep his momentum going. Stoke will need a new goalkeeper in the summer and they could offer first-team football to Henderson in the Championship next term. Hence, it seems like moving to the bet365 Stadium might be the best choice for the goalkeeper.