Dean Henderson admits that he faces a “brick wall” in a bid to become first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United, but the 23-year-old is still hoping to dislodge David de Gea from a role at Old Trafford and then emulate the Spaniard’s success.
An Old Trafford academy graduate has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United.
He helped the Blades to promotion into the Premier League during his debut campaign at Bramall Lane, before then aiding a surprise quest for European qualification in 2019-20.
The ambitious shot-stopper has, however, made no secret of the fact that breaking through at United remains his top priority.
That stance has been reiterated, but Henderson accepts that his path is being blocked by one of the very best in the business and a man who remains fully deserving of a prominent role at the Theatre of Dreams.
"It feels like I always hit a brick wall. Maybe I'll get the opportunity [to play for Man Utd], maybe I won't, then I'll have to look down a different avenue.
"The fans have to remember what he's [De Gea] done for the last nine years - he's been phenomenal.
"He's probably been the best player at United for that time period. He should get another opportunity.
"I'm a young lad. I'm working hard. I'm a fan of the club and I want to play for them. Hopefully I have a career at Man Utd like David de Gea has."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in no position to offer Henderson the assurances he craves, with the United boss still hailing De Gea as the best goalkeeper on the planet, but he hopes a young pretender to the No.1 berth will maintain his current progress and remain patient in pursuit of an ultimate dream.
Solskjaer has said of Henderson: "It's a different job to be playing for Sheffield United and for Manchester United. He's got different roles and for me, the two years he's had have been fantastic development.
"He's had to play with men, he's had to play against men, he's played in the Championship, and plays in a team that play fantastic football and exciting football.
"And as the stats show he's proved worthy of quite a few points.
"He's learning all the time, he's a passionate 'keeper that wants to be the best, he's developing, he's got good coaching there and, I've said it before, one day he'll be England No.1 and Man Utd No.1 and it's up to him to keep developing."