Playing Squad

Goalkeepers

Dean Henderson I was really disappointed when I saw Jamal Blackman had not signed and doubly so when Leeds moved in for him. I thought he looked a top keeper and one that we may sign permanently who could grow with us but money ultimately talked and he did not return. I did not think Moore would begin the campaign as number one. Wilder seems to have doubts about him at this level so we needed another keeper. Henderson was a bit of a left field signing. He has been on loan at a few clubs and did really well at Shrewsbury but he had never played higher than the lower leagues and was very young. I was not sure but that is of course only having seen glimpses of him. Wilder’s statement that they had watched him and he was the best keeper outside of the top flight raised a few eyebrows but clearly the scouting team had done their homework.

He came in and struggled a but the first few games but gradually started to settle down as the whole defence did and he went on to be a key man. He made a super 3 on 1 save in the Norwich game when we went on to win and then recall him making key saves in games against Birmingham, Rotherham (where he played them on his own) and Blackburn at home. When we went on the winning run kept 7 clean sheets and made big saves in games at Wednesday, West Brom and Brentford.

He made some big mistakes though; Stoke and Leeds at home and of course Villa away with a poor last 10 minutes but overall, he has won us far more points than he has cost us and been an excellent signing really. He has become a bit of a cult hero also and fans both young and old love him. He also takes time for fans and has shown quite a caring side on twitter etc.

His goal celebrations, full time antics and his behaviour on social media has divided opinion and as the result of some harmless but taken out of context pictures, he got pelters from many fans with some vile abuse. Most fans probably had no idea why they were signing things and the Leeds game when he turned around and punched the air to the Leeds Kop showed how much stick he had been getting. He does seem a bit silly at times both on and off the field but maybe this fearless, character type makes him what he is. I have remarked before he reminds me a bit of Simon Tracey. He does not seem to care and bounces back from mistakes

Equalled the clean sheet record and in the run in as we won the two Easter games and the Ipswich game was faultless and you felt in control with him at the back. Great to see the scenes in the days after promotion with him draped in the flag and you can excuse a few f bombs as he declared his intention to stay and not take off said flag. Seeing him with a flare on the team bus at the parade showed how much he wants to embrace the fans whether it be supporting some of those poorly youngsters or fitting in with the erm…. livelier lads in their late teens/early 20’s. He has become a real cult hero in no time at all.

For me, I would not be shocked if he was the England keeper in 3 years. He is that good. He will have dips but he has everything you would want – he is athletic, a good shot stopped, can command, decent with his feet and a good size. I certainly think he can go on and be better than Pickford. I hope we can keep him. I feel he will certainly be playing Premier League football next season and whether it be a permanent (with a buy back from Man Utd) or another season loan; his signing is the first one we need to sort really.

Grade B+ (Last season NA)


Simon Moore

Did so well for us as we won the league but Blackman played more games and was far more impressive. He was a bit jittery at times in the Championship and it was no surprise we brought another keeper in and Henderson was quickly made and remained number one. Just before the season started there were rumours that West Brom wanted to sign him (as a back-up also – Sam Johnstone clearly brought in to be the first choice) and with higher wages possibly on offer, I felt he may go but he ended up signing a new contract and it was nice to see him say how he loved the club and the team spirit. He started only two games in the cups and both were defeats. He was less than convincing in both and you worried if he was a regular at this level as he struggles with long range shots and crosses.

Whatever happens with Henderson, you sense either he or another keeper will be the number one and Moore will remain as a back-up. At 29 he is not a kid and a little odd he seems content to be number two as that is what he has been for two seasons but maybe realises if he moves on, he would be back in League One in all probability and on lesser wages too. I would like United to see if they can improve in this area as he does not fill me with confidence when he plays. He is not an awful keeper but a bit uncertain in key aspects of the role. Seems a really nice guy and not a guy to rock the boat at all but if we are to progress, we may need more competition for the level we are now at. However, he was always pushing Henderson and a great pro and for that you have to praise him.

Grade D+ (Last season C)



The rest

Jake Eastwood Not sure Eastwood has shown he is ready to push on and at 22 he has not even had loan spells at other league clubs. Last season he had a few spells on our bench and played a few games also but this season he has gone back to the u23’s. At his age they may move him on now to allow the likes of Marcus Dewhurst a progression path. Telling that Dewhurst who has been involved in England Youth teams, was taken to a mid-season first team camp so a lot must be thought of him. He spent some time on loan at Guiseley and did well there by all accounts. He is a big lad having seen him in the Sheffield derby game at the end of the season up at Shirecliffe.

Next season
Bring Henderson back is important. If he does not come back, we have to sign another first choice keeper and it is such a key position. I just hope it is Deano between the sticks but if not, we may have to look at other Championship keepers – certainly depending on what happens in the playoffs, Sam Johnstone is a very good keeper and Darren Randolph has been very good but both make mistakes and not sure either is the level of Henderson. Maybe the lad Etheridge from Cardiff if they come down. We actually would need another keeper anyway even with a number one as not sure we would go with just two senior keepers and in a squad of 25, you would need three really. Important area we have to sort out – if Henderson comes back, we go a long way to sorting this out.

Returning players;

Player / Position Years remaining (contract expires)

Goalkeepers
Jake Eastwood 1 year (2020)
Marcus Dewhurst 1 year (2020)
Simon Moore 2 years (2021)


Return to loan club:

Dean Henderson – Back to Man Utd