Henderson should start at the Euros, says ex-England ‘keeper

News Desk
Henderson F365
Dean Henderson Man United

Manchester United star Dean Henderson is “fearless” and he should start for England at this summer’s European Championships, according to David James.

Gareth Southgate will announce his 26-man squad on Tuesday and Henderson is expected to be named as one of three goalkeepers alongside Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope.

James, capped 53 times between 1997 and 2010, believes Southgate faces a difficult decision over who will start in England’s opening group game against Croatia at Wembley on June 13.

Gareth and Raheem, still sitting in a tree…

“With regards who gets the number one position, it’s fascinating because Henderson has come in at Manchester United and now everything he does has come under scrutiny,” James told the PA news agency.

“But in my opinion, if he can be Manchester United’s number one then there’s no reason why he can’t be England’s number one.

“It’s the way he handles himself. I’d say ‘fearless’ would be the best word. If there’s a mis-judgement or error, he’ll continue doing what he knows he can do afterwards and not be frightened of it.”

Everton’s Pickford has previously been Southgate’s regular number one, while Burnley’s Pope started in all three of England’s World Cup qualifiers in March.

“Gareth’s got to work this out,” James said. “I’ve been in that situation as an England player, as number one or vying for it, and there are so many different things to take into consideration.

“It’s not just making a good save against one team or letting in a bad goal against another.

“Once you get in that camp Gareth Southgate will be able to assess Henderson’s relationship with the rest of the players, how he trains, how his mentality is.”

Henderson, 24, is set to complete his first season as a regular starter for Manchester United after spending the previous two on loan at Sheffield United.

James said he has also been impressed by Leeds’ 21-year-old French goalkeeper Illan Meslier this season.

“Henderson seems pretty unflappable and Meslier at Leeds is the exact same. I’ve just done my team of the year for television coverage and Meslier is in goal.

“Henderson and Meslier, they’re two guys I get excited watching. They’ll make mistakes, but they’re both young enough to develop in a positive way.”

James was speaking as ambassador to energy supplier Utilita’s ‘Football Rebooted’ campaign, which aims to recycle at least one million pairs of ‘pre-played’ football boots.

The ‘donate and claim’ campaign enables anyone with spare football boots to request a freepost ‘boot bag’ to donate their boots, which will then appear at one of many claim stations that will pop up in parks and training grounds.

“Right now, there are millions of pairs of football boots that people have grown out of or replaced, and we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill,” James added.

“Getting these boots replayed will not only save players a few quid, but will also act as an important reminder about the power of upcycling and reusing items that still have a lot of life left in them.”