Sam Johnstone: I need to play first-team football at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Sam Johnstone has expressed his desire to play first team football at Manchester United this season.

The 23-year-old came to Old Trafford in 2011 but is yet to make an appearance for the first team, and has spent the majority of his career on loan spells at Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers and Preston North End.

Johnstone has been included in Jose Mourinho’s 26 man squad for the 2016/17 campaign, notably warming up alongside David De Gea and Sergio Romero prior to games against Leicester City and AFC Bournemouth.

Speaking to after receiving the Man of the Match award against Leicester’s reserves, Johnstone made it clear that he aims to break into the Man United side under Jose Mourinho.

“Of course, it’s good to be around the first team,” he said.

“Obviously, you never know when a chance might come but, on the other hand, I do need to play football. I’ve been on loan in previous seasons and enjoyed it, playing men’s football for points in front of crowds. You can’t beat that.

“But, like I’ve said, I’m here and, every time I step on the pitch, I’m here to do a job and hopefully show the manager what I can do and push Sergio [Romero] and David [De Gea].

“I’m happy we won. The lads put in a great effort as we played an experienced Leicester side. We’ve got a young team but we dug in, worked hard and got the reward for it. I’ve worked with Warren Joyce for a while and he gets you working hard. I enjoy playing for him and always give it my best.”

Johnstone will undoubtedly benefit from being around the likes of David De Gea and Mourinho on a daily basis. Such pedigree and experience can only aid the youngster’s development, who is clearly fixated on pushing through the ranks at United.

That said, Johnstone will be wary of the fact that chasing the No.1 shirt at Old Trafford could ultimately lead to a dead end, with De Gea looking as irreplaceable as ever.

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