After a lot of talk about our players at the European Championship and then transfer rumours surrounding the club, it is time to continue with our Manchester United season ending reviews. The new season may be soon upon us, but we are still to take a closer look at how our players fared during the last campaign. Some players really had important roles in this team for the first time and Dean Henderson is definitely one of them. Here is our 24-year-old goalkeeper fared during the 2020-21 campaign.
Dean Henderson returned to Manchester United from his two-year long loan spell at Sheffield United. After impressing for the Blades, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided it was time to see how he will do when pitted alongside David de Gea for the place in the starting eleven. Henderson made 26 appearances across five competitions for Man United this past season. He made 13 appearances in the Premier League, he had four of them in each of Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup, while he laos made a Champions League debut in a shocking 2-1 loss to Istanbul Basaksehir last year. During his 26 appearances, he had 13 clean sheets, which is a decent amount for a young goalkeeper first being tested at a big club. What actually was a problem was that in the other 13 games he did not keep a clean sheet, United conceded 22 goals or 1.7 per game. That was not ideal, but often he was left in tough positions by his defence and team overall.
Looking at some of the underlying metrics for all Premier League goalkeepers, Dean Henderson has shown quality in certain areas, but not so much in some others. His save percentage of 75.3 means one in four shots he faced were goals, which puts Henderson in an amazing 91st percentile according to FBref. Also, conceding 0.98 goals per 90 minutes also put him in the 90th percentile, while clean sheet percentage of 38.1% is also close to that kind of rank. Henderson also performed well in the percentage of crosses stopped and defensive actions he made outside his penalty area. That suggested he was proactive and often geting out of his goal, which is not only something that David de Gea knew to struggle with, but also what is necessary for big teams who play with high defensive lines. Where Henderson did not perform well was in terms of post-shot expected goals per shot on target, a very complicated sounding metric which suggests Man United goalkeeper was letting in more goals than he needed in terms of the quality of the shot made and where it was going in across the goal.
Dean Henderson has had a good first season at Manchester United, but it did not become clear whether Solskjaer should try and make him the first choice goalkeeper and try to offload David de Gea, especially after Tom Heaton’s arrival. At 24, Henderson still has to develop in order to become a goalkeeper which a club like Man United could 100 per cent rely on. For now, he is going in the right direction, but his performances last season did not wow as much as it was necessary for him to become the undisputed number one.