Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is yet to make a single appearance for the Red Devils, but he has already been on loan at other clubs on nine occasions. His move to Aston Villa does not come as a surprise, and it probably represents the best possible opportunity for him to settle down at the club. Villa recently appointed Steve Bruce has the manager to replace Roberto di Matteo. As someone who knows United extremely well, Bruce will be able to guide Johnstone better than any other manager out there at the moment.
Just days after joining Villa on a loan deal, Johnstone made his debut for the club in the 2-0 loss against Tottenham in the third round of the FA Cup. Even though it was a defeat, Johnstone appears to have impressed Bruce sufficiently. Johnstone is expected to straightaway make it to the league team.
Bruce said, as reported by the Birmingham Mail:
“It was an excellent debut.
“We’re delighted we’ve got him. He’s got all the attributes to be a very good young goalkeeper. You just have to see, he’s got a big physical presence, kicks it well.
“He needs to come and play and he’s looking forward to the challenge of helping us. But certainly he played his part.”
Aston Villa are expected to be amongst the promotion contenders this season, but they are nowhere near enough the play-off spots. This could be very damaging for the club in the near future. The arrival of Bruce has certainly steadied the ship, and the club will now be targeting a much better form in the second half of the campaign to move closer towards the top six.
At 23 years of age, Johnstone knows that it is extremely difficult to break into the Manchester United first-team. In fact, it is almost an impossible task barring any surprise changes to the first-team involving David de Gea. The Spaniard is regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and any player would struggle against the competition of this calibre. Moving on loan to a Championship club is not new to the English goalkeeper, as Johnstone has already spent time at the likes of Preston North End and Doncaster Rovers.
Son Heung-min and Ben Davies scored the goals that prevented Villa from progressing past the third round of the competition. It was always going to be a difficult encounter, as it was at White Hart Lane where Spurs are usually strong. If the game was at Villa Park, Villa would have been given a small chance of progressing into the ground. As it is, Johnstone was one of the impressive players as he made plenty of saves to keep the opposition down to 2 goals.
Villa are searching for their first win in any competition since Boxing Day. The club takes on Wolverhampton in an away match during the weekend, and it is likely to be Johnstone’s first appearance for the Midlands club in the league. The club are 12th in the table after having played 25 games in all competitions.
The closest Johnstone came to appearing for United was being named on the bench by Louis van Gaal last season.