While Aston Villa goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland may have stolen the headlines on Premier League reopening day for his blunder in net, his counterpart Dean Henderson once again shone in goal for Sheffield United. Henderson recorded his 11th clean sheet for the Blades, tying for the league lead.
This save to deny Villa striker Keinan Davis is Henderson at his finest:
Peluang Keinan Davis masih bisa diantisipasi dengan baik oleh Dean Henderson.Saksikan pertandingan ini di aplikasi Mola TV dengan berlangganan mulai dari 25 ribu!https://t.co/u0AJVxIPTf
⠀⠀ #EPLdiMolaTV #AVLSHU pic.twitter.com/gFO5i9fGUM
— SuperSoccer TV (@my_supersoccer) June 17, 2020
Henderson shuffles to his right to cut down the angle, not committing too early and maintaining a good body position. Davis hits a sweetly struck left-footed volley that seems destined for the near post. Henderson reacts instantly, calmly pushing to his right and extending a strong right hand to parry the ball out for a corner. Henderson makes a precarious save look simple as he demonstrates composure under pressure and impeccable footwork.
He followed that stop with an acrobatic save (dare I say, De Gea-esque?) on a curling effort from John McGinn that was heading for the side netting:
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) June 18, 2020
This type of performance has become typical for Henderson. Still, the 23-year-old has yet to make an apperance for the England senior side, toiling mostly for the U-21s. Henderson was called up to the senior squad for Euro 2021 qualifiers in October, but only sat on the bench.
Meanwhile, England's number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, has been dreadful this season. While Pickford is extremely agile and powerful, his composure and decision making are severely lacking.
These are mistakes that England's number one keeper simply cannot make. Far too often he finds himself out of position, leaving the striker with a much easier finish.
Advanced statistics also side with Henderson:
How have the #PremierLeague GKs performed against what would be expected if an avg GK faced the same shots they did?Majority of GKs performing inline with avg range.#Lloris, #McCarthy, #Alisson, #Henderson, #Guaita & #Dubravka exceptional. #Gunn, #Kepa, #Pickford not great. pic.twitter.com/GNFKwVtvnu
— John Harrison (@Jhdharrison1) April 27, 2020
Before the coronavirus postponement, Henderson saved 7.7 more goals than expected, third in the EPL, while Pickford conceded 4.1 goals more than expected, second worst.
The England goalkeeper has long been a scrutinized position, whether it be David Seaman getting lobbed by Ronaldinho at the 2002 World Cup, Rob Green fumbling Clint Dempsey's shot over the line in 2010 or the countless other England goalkeepers who have been unceremoniously removed in recent years.
Pickford is a relatively young keeper, just 26, but the Everton man made his England debut in 2017 and has been a regular since earning the starting spot at the 2018 World Cup. He has been solid between the posts for England, but Henderson is the first real challenger for his starting spot.
The battle for the English starting goalkeeper position will be a storyline to watch as the season finishes out.