LONDON • Dean Henderson's bid to replace David de Gea as Manchester United's first-choice goalkeeper got off to a solid start, as he made a key save in his belated debut for the club in their 3-0 win at Luton Town in the League Cup on Tuesday.
The former England Under-21 international was one of 10 changes made by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a disappointing 3-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday in their opening game of the English Premier League season.
The 23-year-old, returning to the club after spending last season on loan at Sheffield United, made a crucial stop to deny Tom Lockyer as United went into the final 10 minutes of their third-round tie with a slender 1-0 lead from Juan Mata's penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Henderson, who before Tuesday had yet to play for the team despite arriving at Old Trafford nine years ago, kept the Championship outfit at bay and the visitors went on to seal the victory with late goals from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
On the academy graduate's solid display between the sticks, Solskjaer, whose side will play their fourth-round tie next week, said: "That is probably the job our 'keepers sometimes have to do, you have to make saves when needed. David has done that for years and Dean did that today.
"Going through is the big thing. There are some positives, the 'keeper does his job, we scored some nice goals towards the end, apart from that, it was a good workout."
Henderson could not hide his delight later, tweeting: "I dreamt about this my whole life! Unbelievable feeling to make my debut for the club I love! Clean sheet and a win to top it off!"
With de Gea putting on yet another erratic performance against Palace - a downward trend that has seen the Spain international make seven direct errors leading to a goal in the past two terms - Henderson could be line for a second successive start when Solskjaer's men travel to Brighton in the top flight on Saturday.
Calling him a "genuine contender" for the No. 1 shirt, former United midfielder Darren Fletcher told Sky Sports: "He's gone away to Sheffield United, and did fantastic in the Championship (in 2018) and the Premier League last year.
"De Gea has a real challenge on his hands now. Henderson wants to be United's No. 1 - he's got the confidence, he's got the arrogance, he believes in himself. He backs himself and it's going to bring the best out of de Gea."
A GOOD SHOW
There are some positives, the 'keeper does his job, we scored some nice goals towards the end... it was a good workout.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, United boss, on Dean Henderson's uplifting display.