Dean Henderson kicks the ball during England's 2-1 defeat to France in the European Under-21 Championships.

Reds youngster Henderson shines as England lose

Manchester United youngster Dean Henderson made a brilliant penalty save, but could not prevent England from losing 2-1 to France in the European Under-21 Championship on Tuesday night.

The talented goalkeeper and proud Academy graduate produced a fine display for Aidy Boothroyd’s side in Cesena, and impressed supporters when he pulled off an incredible first-half penalty save to deny Lyon striker Moussa Dembele.

The spot-kick was awarded in the 25th minute after Jake Clarke-Salter was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area. Dembele is regarded as one of the most clinical finishers in the tournament, but Henderson’s agile reactions saw him get a huge hand to the ball and palm it to safety.

Henderson's save meant the sides went in level at half-time, and 10 minutes after the interval England took the lead via a great goal from Manchester City’s Phil Foden.

France then missed another penalty through Houssem Aouar, who hit the post after Henderson had shrewdly dived the right way.

It seemed that the Three Lions would hold on to take all the points, but, with just minutes remaining, Nanitamo Ikone levelled for France.

Then, in injury time, Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s sliced clearance accidentally ended up in his own goal to hand France a late and dramatic victory.

The defeat means England will likely have to win both of their remaining games against Romania and Croatia to qualify for the semi-finals, with just the three group winners and the best second-placed side progressing to the knock-out rounds.

Henderson will, however, be encouraged by his superb performance on Tuesday. The keeper conceded just one of the 18 shots he faced, seven of which were on target.

Henderson lines up with his England team-mates ahead of the game.

The 22-year-old has been on United’s books since 2011 and has been included on the bench twice for the first-team, for FA Cup ties against Shrewsbury Town and Blackburn Rovers.

Henderson has spent the last two full seasons on loan at the aforementioned Shrewsbury and Sheffield United respectfully. He gained promotion to the Premier League with the Blades in 2018/19 and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken positively about him this summer.

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