Manchester United’s Sam Johnstone has joined Npower League One side Walsall until the end of the season.
Goalkeeper Johnstone, who turns 20 on Monday, has been a regular for the U21 side this term and has impressed. However, the return of Ben Amos means that goalkeeping options for Warren Joyce have increased with Anders Lindegaard also appearing for the reserves.
Speaking to Manchester United’s official website recently, Johnstone admitted he was keen for competitive action.
“I want the next step of competitive football… I think you want to be playing in front of crowds.
“When you get in the first team, you can say: ‘Well, I’ve done this already on loan for half a season or a whole season so it’s not so new to me’. It’s just the way it goes and it helps you improve.”
And Walsall boss Dean Smith seemed pleased to capture the promising goalkeeper in an area which his team have lacked any form of prolonged consistency.
“I know a lot about the lad and have had some very positive reports on him,” said Smith.
“He has already had a couple of previous loan spells at this level, so he knows what it’s all about.
“Having watched him in action recently, I’m delighted to be able to bring him on board until the end of the season.”
A goalkeeper crisis at the League One outfit means that Johnstone will be thrown in at the deep end and is likely to start against Hartlepool on Saturday.
Johnstone has had previous loan spells at both Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe but this move could be the biggest in his career so far, with Walsall just three points off the play-off places in League One.
A run of games between now and the end of the season would be very beneficial for the 19-year-old, who is held in high regard at Old Trafford with many seeing him as a potential future number one.