When you are fourth in the pecking order behind David de Gea, Sergio Romero and Victor Valdes, the usual option is to look for other clubs, often on a loan deal, to further your footballing career. This is what young Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is facing, according to a report in the Mail Online.
Preston-born 22-year-old Johnstone, who has come through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, has permission from Manchester United for teams to take him on a loan deal and the young keeper “has plenty of suitors in the Championship” according to the Mail Online who also say that there may be disappointment amongst the interested Championship teams as “many were hoping to take him on a permanent deal.”
So far this season, Johnstone has played in four U21 Premier League games, conceding four goals but it is thought that the Premier League giants see his development best being elsewhere, albeit it on a temporary basis. The youngster has experience of loan deals in the Football League before with him being loaned to various clubs. His first loan was in the 2011/12 season to Scunthorpe United, in League One, where he made 12 appearances, conceding 19 goals and keeping two clean sheets. His next loan move in 2012/13 also saw him drop to League One, this time a seven-game stretch at Walsall where he conceded just five goals and kept three clean sheets. The following season, in 2013/14, Johnstone dropped into the Championship making one appearance for Yeovil Town where he conceded two goals and saw the season out with 18 appearances for Doncaster Rovers where he conceded 26 goals and kept five clean sheets.
In the 2014/15 season, Johnstone saw two loan deals covering League One, first with Doncaster Rovers and then with Preston North End. In the ten appearances for Doncaster, Johnstone conceded just nine goals and kept three clean sheets. Whilst seeing out the tail end of last season with Preston North End, Johnstone was more impressive conceding only 17 goals in 2 appearances for the Lilywhites whilst keeping 13 clean sheets, including three clean sheets in the League One play-offs.
Preston, who currently have Sunderland’s young stopper Jordan Pickford on loan, are reportedly interested in taking Johnstone back on loan as Pickford is likely to be recalled to the Stadium of Light. However, in addition to Preston, the Mail Online stated last week that “Wolves, Bristol City, Reading, Huddersfield and Queens Park Rangers are also interested.”