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Premier League - Football: Nottingham Forest make Henderson statement

Nottingham Forest have signalled their intent ahead of their much-anticipated return to the Premier League by signing goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan.

Henderson has moved to the City Ground on a season-long loan deal from Manchester United, and while they do not hold an option to buy the England international, his arrival at Forest shows Steve Cooper's side are determined to make their mark in the top flight.

Forest are set to embark on their first season back in the Premier League since 1999 and they are priced at 4/5 to stay up and avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

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A move that suits all concerned

It has been a difficult 12 months for Henderson, who flourished during a two-season loan spell with Sheffield United between 2018-2020 before he returned to fight for the number one jersey at Old Trafford with David De Gea.

At one stage during the 2020/21 season it looked like Henderson was going to dislodge De Gea as United's first-choice between the sticks, as he featured 26 times across all competitions.

However, De Gea eventually won that battle and the improved form of the Spanish goalkeeper meant Henderson rarely featured last term, as he mustered just three appearances, none of which came in the Premier League.

That led to intense speculation that Henderson would leave United this summer and Newcastle were heavily linked with the 25-year-old, but he has ultimately opted to make the temporary move to Forest.

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Signing a goalkeeper has been a priority for Forest since they clinched promotion back to the Premier League via the play-offs, especially as last season's regular number one, Brice Samba, has signalled his intent to leave the club.

For the time being, Samba is still at the City Ground, although he is expected to complete a move away, with Ligue 1 outfit RC Lens said to be interested.

Even if Samba does stay at Forest, Henderson is almost certain to be the number one at the start of the season, with the Tricky Trees priced at 15/4 to win at Newcastle in their opening match of the new campaign.

Academy product Jordan Smith is another goalkeeping option for Forest, but Ethan Horvath has moved on, the American joining Luton Town on loan soon after news of Henderson's arrival was confirmed.

Could Henderson be on the plane to Qatar?

After featuring regularly for Man Utd during the 2020/21 season, Henderson, who made his senior international debut for England in November 2020, was included in Gareth Southgate's squad for last summer's Euros.

However, the Cumbrian was forced to withdraw from the squad after the opening match and his subsequent lack of first-team opportunities at club level has meant he has not been called up since.

The likes of Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone all appear to be ahead of Henderson in the England pecking order right now and, with the World Cup taking place this winter, time is running out if he is to secure a place on the plane for Qatar.

Luckily for Henderson, the three goalkeeping positions within Southgate's squad are anything but locked down and a strong start to the season with Forest could see him force his way back into the international reckoning.

Henderson is 5/2 to make it into England's World Cup squad, with the Three Lions available at 11/2 to land their first major men's international tournament since 1966.

Johnson commits to Forest cause

Henderson is the second new arrival at Forest this summer, following on from the signing of forward Taiwo Awoniyi, who joined in a reported club-record £17m deal from Union Berlin.

Those two additions are certain to hand Cooper's squad a boost, with Forest priced at 10/11 to be relegated, but perhaps the biggest piece of business the club have done this summer involves Brennan Johnson.

Wales international winger Johnson is an academy product at the City Ground and he enjoyed a superb breakthrough season last term, scoring 16 goals and providing nine assists in the Championship.

That led to the 21-year-old, who is the son of former Forest striker David Johnson, being crowned EFL Young Player of the Season, while he has also attracted attention from a number of clubs during the last two transfer windows.

However, such transfer speculation has now been put to bed, as less than 24 hours before the arrival of Henderson at the City Ground, Johnson put pen to paper on a new four-year contract.

Johnson signing a new deal is the news that every Forest fan was hoping to hear this summer, and if the club can secure further new arrivals over the coming weeks to go alongside Henderson and Awoniyi, then the Tricky Trees could be more than just relegation candidates during 2022/23.

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