It has been a landmark week for Cumbrian football's rising star Dean Henderson.

The goalkeeper from Whitehaven made his first-team debut for Manchester United on Tuesday.

It was the latest major step in a career which has long been destined for big things.

Henderson, 23, is hoping to claim the regular goalkeeping position in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first team whilst also continuing his push for a first England senior cap.

The talented keeper has come a long way since his junior days in his home town. He grew up in the Hillcrest area of Whitehaven and went to Jericho Primary School as he took his first steps into sport.

News and Star: An eight-year-old Dean Henderson, bottom row, right, with a Jericho School team at a schools' world cup event in 2006An eight-year-old Dean Henderson, bottom row, right, with a Jericho School team at a schools' world cup event in 2006

News and Star: Henderson, back row centre, with fellow Jericho School pupils after winning a netball eventHenderson, back row centre, with fellow Jericho School pupils after winning a netball event

He played for Whitehaven Miners, and was regarded as equally capable both in goal and as an outfield player when he was picked up by Carlisle United's academy aged eight, having been scouted by the club's community sports trust soccer school in Whitehaven.

News and Star: Dean Henderson pictured after joining Carlisle United aged eight 9photo: Mike McKenzie)Dean Henderson pictured after joining Carlisle United aged eight 9photo: Mike McKenzie)

Henderson said he faced a dilemma when he was progressing into football with the Blues. He told the News & Star last year: “My brother, Calum, is six years older and I’d play against lads his age – and the youngest would get bullied to go in net. I used to be brave, make saves, take it in the face. I didn’t like [being a keeper] at first, but that changed when I started doing some actual goalkeeper training.

News and Star: Henderson heads the ball during a junior coaching session in his native west Cumbria (photo: Mike McKenzie)Henderson heads the ball during a junior coaching session in his native west Cumbria (photo: Mike McKenzie)

News and Star: A young Dean Henderson, left, shows off his skills (photo: Mike McKenzie)A young Dean Henderson, left, shows off his skills (photo: Mike McKenzie)

“At Carlisle United, I got offered two [academy] contracts, one outfield and one goalkeeper. It was a tough decision but I was like, ‘Mum, listen, I just want to dive in the mud!’ They stuck by me, stuck with the decision, and I think it’s safe to say it paid off.”

You can read the full interview here: https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/17706297.rising-cumbrian-star-dean-henderson-the-skys-limit---coming-home-keeps-grounded/

Henderson, who went to St Benedict's secondary school in Whitehaven, quickly caught the eye between the posts as he came through Carlisle's age-group ranks. The club's staff, such as academy keeper coach Ben Benson, said both his ability and attitude were clear from an early stage.

Benson told us last August of the time when Henderson was upset at conceding a large number of goals for United's under-13s against Burnley at Penrith's Frenchfields - but his response to disappointment was notable.

“It must have finished about 15-0,” said Benson, now Blackburn's first-team keeper coach. “Dean wasn’t at fault for any of them, but when me and Eric Kinder [Carlisle’s head of youth] walked over at the end, he came to us in floods of tears.

“‘Dean, what’s the matter?’ we asked. He said, ‘I should have done better with the third goal.’ We started laughing and were saying it would have been 24-0 but for him. It’s interesting, though. Straight away his reaction was, ‘This is what I should have done better’. He then explained that he should have gone with his longest arm and tipped that shot around the post.

“The next part of the story is that, before going home, he asked if we could stay at Frenchfield and do some more work. So we did. Everyone else has left and we’re there for another 20 minutes, working on something he’d perceived he should have done better. He’s probably tired but he desperately wants to do it.

“That trait – that intensity, that desire, is unbelievably powerful.”

Ben Benson's full account of Dean Henderson's development at Carlisle is here: https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/sport/17827112.tears-cowfields-rare-talent---making-dean-henderson-cumbrias-newest-premier-league-player/

Henderson did not look back at Carlisle and amazed some of the club's senior players and older academy players with his displays in training. Soon he was being scouted by bigger clubs and in 2011 Manchester United negotiated a deal to sign him from the Blues.

News and Star: Henderson pictured at home after joining Manchester United from Carlisle's academyHenderson pictured at home after joining Manchester United from Carlisle's academy

Henderson was 14 when he made the dream move to the Old Trafford giants and pulled off some saves in the garden at home which were captured by our photographer Mike McKenzie.

News and Star: Henderson pictured at home shortly after signing for Manchester United from Carlisle's academyHenderson pictured at home shortly after signing for Manchester United from Carlisle's academy

He made good progress at Manchester United and eventually made a series of loan moves to further his development. First it was Stockport in Conference North - "still the hardest level I've played," he said last year, and then Grimsby in League Two, where his spell included a good performance in a 3-1 Mariners victory at Brunton Park.

There was the possibilty of a loan move to Carlisle in the summer of 2017, but according to Henderson, the Blues' then boss Keith Curle only wanted him to be an understudy. "I had offers in League One and said, ‘Listen, I ain’t coming there to play second fiddle’."

Henderson instead joined Shrewsbury in the third tier and was outstanding as they reached the League One play-off final and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final. He saved a penalty in the former but the Shrews went down 2-1 to Rotherham.

News and Star: Henderson saves David Ball's penalty in the 2018 League One play-off final at WembleyHenderson saves David Ball's penalty in the 2018 League One play-off final at Wembley

From there, Henderson moved up a level again and, in another loan spell, played a starring role as Sheffield United won promotion to the Premier League in 2019. The Whitehaven man won the Championship's Golden Glove award after keeping 20 clean sheets.

News and Star: Henderson with Sheffield United boss Chris WilderHenderson with Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder

The keeper returned to the Blades for a second loan spell in the summer of 2019, giving him a taste of Premier League action for the first time.

He was again outstanding for the Bramall Lane club, helping Chris Wilder's team to a ninth-placed finish and establishing himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in the game.

His path has also seen England caps at age group levels up to Under-21, including performances in last summer's European Championships.

News and Star: Henderson pictured singing the national anthem before England's 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship match against Croatia at The San Marino Stadium, Serravalle (photo: PA)Henderson pictured singing the national anthem before England's 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship match against Croatia at The San Marino Stadium, Serravalle (photo: PA)

He has also been named in recent senior England squads by Gareth Southgate and was among the substitutes for the national team's recent Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark. He is competing with Burnley's Nick Pope and current No1 Jordan Pickford for the right to be England's first-choice keeper.

News and Star: Henderson pictured in training before England's recent games against Iceland and Denmark (photo: PA)Henderson pictured in training before England's recent games against Iceland and Denmark (photo: PA)

This summer, amid rumours of a possible big-money move away from Old Trafford, Manchester United moved to tie the Cumbrian down to a lucrative new five-year contract. That took him closer than ever to fulfilling his dream of becoming first-team keeper for the Red Devils, with only long-standing No1 David De Gea in his way.

News and Star: Henderson and David De Gea pictured before Manchester United's Premier League game against Crystal Palace (photo: PA)Henderson and David De Gea pictured before Manchester United's Premier League game against Crystal Palace (photo: PA)The Spaniard, despite a series of high-profile errors last season, got the nod from boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to start the new Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace, with Henderson on the bench.

Henderson, though, finally got his big chance when Solskjaer named him in the Man Utd side for Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie at Luton Town.

News and Star: Henderson pictured in action on his Manchester United debut against Luton Town (photo: PA)Henderson pictured in action on his Manchester United debut against Luton Town (photo: PA)

It was the fulfilment of a dream for Henderson - and he certainly did not waste the opportunity.

Although it was a quiet game for the keeper generally, he pulled off one superb save from the home side's Tom Lockyer in the 80th minute to help Man Utd retain their 1-0 lead.

News and Star: Henderson makes a superb save from Luton's Tom Lockyer (photo: PA)Henderson makes a superb save from Luton's Tom Lockyer (photo: PA)

Solskjaer's side eventually won 3-0, and after his winning, clean-sheet start to life as a first-team keeper at Old Trafford, Henderson tweeted: "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!!!"

All eyes will now be on Henderson to see if he can oust De Gea and claim the regular position for Man Utd - and also force his way into the England side. If he does, it will be the greatest achievement yet for a player with the potential to be remembered as Cumbria's finest footballer for a generation.

"Hopefully the journey can continue," Henderson said last year, "because the sky’s the limit.”

News and Star: What next for the young west Cumbrian? (photo: Mike McKenzie)What next for the young west Cumbrian? (photo: Mike McKenzie)