Dean Henderson wanted the ground to swallow him up when he made his professional debut in goal for Stockport.

But the sky’s the limit now for the Manchester United keeper, who has his sights firmly set on being No 1 for club AND country one day.

Henderson joined United at 14 and starred in their youth team, but his introduction to the pro game came on the first of three lower-league loans that helped turn him into a man.

“Stockport what was the hardest loan spell of my life,” the 23-year-old said, recalling his debut there in a 1-1 draw with Nuneaton in the Vanarama National League North in 2016.

“I remember there's a big guy. First minute of my debut. He said: ‘Put it on the keeper, he’s pooing himself!’, and I thought: ‘Oh God…’

Dean Henderson had a nightmare while on loan at Stockport County

“It’s come in, I’ve gone for the cross, I’ve completely missed it, went in the goal. I wanted to be swallowed up at the time but I had to get on with it, dust myself down.

“I just kept learning from there and those are some of the best experiences. I am thankful that I had that. Hopefully I’ve got them out of my system now!”

Henderson, who also had spells at Grimsby, Shrewsbury, and more recently Sheffield United, has always been on England boss Gareth Southgate’s radar.

A regular in the younger age groups, he was first called into the senior squad in October 2019 as a replacement for the injured Tom Heaton.

And it has seen Moore back Henderson to take over from Jordan Pickford internationally
Jordan Pickford faces a battle to keep the England No.1 spot with Dean Henderson knocking on the door

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Now he’s fighting it out with Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope for a shot at the No 1 shirt - as he prepares for the biggest season of his career.

Henderson said: “I know what I've got to do. I've got two very good goalkeepers here with me and we're all challenging for the number one shirt.

“I'm working hard every single day to do what I can do to be classed as Gareth’s No 1 but I know I've got to get past two very good goalkeepers.”

After impressing in the Premier League with the Blades, where he says Chris Wilder made him feel “ten feet tall”, Henderson will finally get his chance at United this season.

He signed a new contract last month committing him to the Old Trafford giants until 2025, and is determined to put as much pressure as he can on David de Gea.

Dean Henderson signed a new deal at Manchester United on Wednesday
Dean Henderson signed a new deal at Manchester United last month

Henderson said: “I said at 23 I'll go back and that'll be my time. I remember sitting in the interview room - that was at Grimsby.

“I knew what I needed to tick off before I got there. I’ve done that. I feel like a new signing at Man United. I haven’t been in the building for five years!

“David de Gea has obviously been a great goalkeeper first and foremost for many years and he's been phenomenal.

“That’s something I aspire to be, to have a career like him. I'll be going back in first day of pre-season working my socks off to get in that starting line-up.

“It's something I've always wanted. I'm so close now. I'm going to put the pressure on.

"It's down to me. I know what challenges are going to be ahead. I’m well up for it.”