Dean Henderson was confident from the day he walked in at Shrewsbury Town, recalls Paul Hurst
Former boss Paul Hurst has revealed that star Premier League goalkeeper Dean Henderson had his sights set on promotion shortly into his memorable loan spell at Shrewsbury Town.
The Manchester United shot-stopper, currently on loan at Sheffield United and no the fringes of an England call-up, teamed up with Hurst for a second time, this time at the Meadow with Town in 2017.
And, despite Hurst and Shrews securing their League One status late in the previous season and with no expectations of a tilt at the summit, a confident Henderson had the Championship on his mind.
"Very quickly he was talking about getting promoted. I said ‘I hope you’re right’ but realistically the club had just stayed up the previous season so as much as I was hoping it might be the case I was thinking ‘yeah, alright Dean, just come and have a good season and let’s try and avoid relegation first and foremost’," Hurst told the Manchester Evening News.
"But it’s funny how it turned out and Dean being Dean would often remind me of that.
"It takes time for some people to take to Dean, because for some it will be too much, there will be a bit of ‘who does he think he is?’ But once you do get to know him you realise he’s had all the ability to back up what he’s about."
The goalkeeper was a huge hit in Shropshire where he became a fans' favourite and featured 48 times as the club made Wembley twice.
"For all the front and the confidence, I still think deep down there’s that little bit of insecurity there," Hurst added. "But we saw at Shrewsbury especially someone who wanted to the best, whether that was the best in the gym, the best on the training pitch, he’d try and improve everything, he wanted to be the best athlete as well as the best goalkeeper."
Hurst, who left for Ipswich shortly after Town's League One play-off final defeat to Rotherham, remembered one particular example of Henderson's confidence.
"When people were taking shots he used to catch the ball, pretend to sign it and throw it back, he wanted to join in the banter," said the former Grimsby and Scunthorpe boss, who is currently out of work.
"I’ll be honest I wasn’t totally convinced about that approach, whether it was the right way to be for your concentration levels, but it showed there was a confident character there."
Hurst continued: "I think he wants to be loved, I think there’s part of that.
"I remember one occasion in particular, we’d scored at home and I turned around towards the goal to shout something to Dean about concentration and I couldn’t see him for five or six seconds, then I saw he was in the crowd in one of the stands.
"We had the end of season compilation of the goals and the number of times the camera starts panning back and Dean’s coming from the crowd was incredible.
"But fans love that, as long as that concentration is there quickly after and you can control that emotion that’s great."