Steve Bruce has lauded Sam Johnstone for producing his best performance yet in an Aston Villa shirt following his side’s 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic last weekend.
The 23-year-old, who arrived at Villa Park on loan back in January, made a sensational – and indeed match-defining save – from Omar Bogle after 74 minutes, diving low to his left to paw the ball to safety before the visitors doubled their lead ten minutes later
Johnstone endured a difficult start to life in the Championship but has now claimed five clean sheets in his last six games for the Clarets.
And Bruce, speaking after the game, was notably delighted with the Englishman’s recent resurgence in form.
“He’s progressing week by week,” he said.
“He’s a young player who we brought into the club and he can only get better. Today was his best performance in terms of making two really good saves, really good ones which matter down to his left-hand side.”
You could forgive Johnstone for having something of a teething period upon joining Villa. This was, after all, his first taste of regular senior football, conveniently in the Championship – a notably vitriolic league – and at a club that has had three managers in the last 12 months.
14 games in, however, and the Englishman has found his groove, demonstrating exactly why his parent club decided to keep him at Old Trafford for so long.