Sam Johnstone didn’t think twice when offered the opportunity to re-join Doncaster Rovers on loan and is looking forward to getting some regular game time.
The 21-year-old wasn’t chosen by Louis van Gaal as part of his first-team squad and hasn’t been able to feature much for United’s U21s either due to injuries but he’ll now be able to play regular competitive football at Doncaster.
Johnstone spent some time on loan at the League One side last year and in an interview with Doncaster’s official website, he said the response the fans have had to his return has made him feel great.
“I’ve seen a lot of tweets and Instagram and the website and I really appreciate it,” he said.
“I can’t really explain what it means to me apart from the fact I’m glad that they [the fans] want me back and I’m glad to be back.
“Hopefully they keep supporting the team and we can get some good results.”
As is the case with youngsters, loan spells are inherently the best way for them to progress towards first-team action because the gulf between U21s and senior football is substantial, so they need loan spells in order for them to build up their experience.
Johnstone was disappointed not to get the nod ahead of Ben Amos for United’s first-team but is now looking forward to becoming Doncaster’s No.1 choice goalkeeper again.
He added: “Everyone knows I was here last year and had a good relationship with [goalkeeping coach] Paul Gerrard and the gaffer.”
“Jed’s loan is up and I needed to get out and get some football under my belt so the manager rang me and asked me if I’d think about coming back and I didn’t think twice about it.
“I was excited to come in and get going with the lads. I know a lot of the team, and am getting to know the new faces.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to be called up to the England under 21s and I think the call up came from playing first team football here last year; I was happy with that and hope there’s many more to come.”
All Johnstone can do now is try to make the most of his loan spell and prove to Louis van Gaal he deserves a spot in his first-team squad.
That being said, Victor Valdes‘ arrival means competition for goalkeepers is stiffer than ever at United but there is always a chance for players to force themselves into contention with strong performances.