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Promotion is in sight for former Shrewsbury Town loanees

By Lewis Cox | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published:

It was clear to anyone that watched Shrewsbury Town last season that Dean Henderson and Ben Godfrey were destined for the top.

Dean Henderson and Ben Godfrey (AMA)

But it is testament to their hunger and desire to succeed that the duo could be Premier League regulars as early as next season.

Goalkeeper Henderson, 22, has played 44 matches for second-placed Sheffield United this season – that's every league match.

While versatile star Godfrey, 21, has made 34 appearances for champions-elect Norwich.

The pair were massive parts of Shrewsbury's remarkable season under Paul Hurst, reaching the Checkatrade Trophy final and finishing third on the way to the League One play-off final.

They played 109 matches between them for Salop and gave every ounce of their being to Shrewsbury where they finished a long season as heroes – not an easy feat for loan players.

Their routes have been different. Manchester United goalkeeper Henderson signed a new Old Trafford deal before heading on loan to Bramall Lane.

Godfrey, now an England youth international alongside 'Deano', stayed at Norwich, by no means a guaranteed starter, but by December he became a key figure in the Canaries backline.

Hurst and Town's ability to attract young and hungry loans of that quality was the backbone to the success, and was then built on with an extraordinary team spirit and second-to-none fitness levels.

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Salop fans knew they were watching starlets blossom and knew these players would have big futures, but to replicate the success enjoyed in Shropshire in the division above – in one of the toughest and competitive leagues around – is kudos to their talent and mentality.

Norwich need just a point tomorrow evening at home to Blackburn to confirm promotion (thanks to a superior goal difference) to the top flight, while a victory for the Blades at home to Ipswich would all-but confirm their place in the top flight, again thanks to a better GD.

All Town fans should will Godfrey and Henderson over the line this weekend.

It could be argued that neither player would be where they are without the experience of their Shrewsbury loan last term. They know so much was gained from their time with Salop.

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Henderson has long-term ambitions to play in goal for Manchester United and England, while Godfrey – with his passion and energy at either right-back, centre-half or central midfield – will surely see him as a top flight regular for years to come.

Swansea's Dan James, 21, now a full Wales international goalscorer that almost moved to Leeds for £10million, didn't find settling easy and made way as Godfrey arrived. How different that could have been.

While Tyler Roberts, 20, continues to shine for third-placed Leeds, hot on the heels of the top two.

But Godfrey and Henderson are leading adverts for any exciting young player to chose Shrewsbury for their Football League education.

Former Town team-mate James Bolton, said: "I used to spend a little bit of time with Ben, travelling to different places, we shared a car.

"I dropped him a message when he got the England call-up, it was always something he wanted to do. I'm pleased for him. He's going on to do really good things.

"I think you could tell in the mentality of all the players. It was really good and strong for how young they were. You'd never believe that they had that confidence and hunger to do so well."

Lewis Cox

By Lewis Cox
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @lewiscox_star

Sports reporter with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Covering Shrewsbury Town and with a keen eye for non-league and grassroots.

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