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Wilder challenges Sheffield United squad to follow Henderson’s England footsteps

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder believes Dean Henderson’s England call-up could pave the way for more of his players to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Henderson, on loan at Bramall Lane from Manchester United, became the first Blades player to be handed a place in the full England squad since Brian Deane in 1992 when Southgate turned to him after Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton withdrew through injury.

The 22-year-old was an unused substitute for the recent Euro 2020 qualifying games in Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Given the impressive early-season form of the likes of Jack O’Connell and George Baldock, who also qualifies to play international football for Greece, Wilder sees no reason why they should not end up on Southgate’s radar – if they maintain the high standards they have set in the Premier League.

“George and Jack have just got to keep playing well. The exposure the Premier League gets, they will not do themselves any harm, will they? If they get their club form right, then the rest takes care of itself.

“It was a fantastic experience for Dean. Now his challenge is to stay in the squad by playing very well for us. He’s working extremely hard and I’m delighted he got his reward with England.

“It was a reward for not just a good start to his Premier League season, but his performances right the way through for us and for England at Under-21 level before.

“He has to keep improving and taking his game to the next level, which is playing for the national side and doing very well for us. When that happens? We will only know with time.

“But Dean is a confident boy, he backs himself to do well. He wants more and I love that attitude. It runs through my squad.

“These boys want to prove themselves – all of them. Some have had opportunities and others have not. But they feel this is where they can play their best football, at this club and in this division.”

The Blades resume their Premier League campaign against Arsenal on Monday night and Wilder is waiting on the fitness of John Fleck, Oli McBurnie and David McGoldrick.

McGoldrick has missed the last four matches with a groin problem while fellow striker McBurnie (knee) and midfielder Fleck both withdrew from the Scotland squad through injury.

Henderson has already returned fit and well from England duty and Wilder will be hoping Republic of Ireland trio Enda Stevens, John Egan and Callum Robinson do likewise.