Manchester United’s goalkeeping situation right now is far from ideal and Johnstone has unfortunately found himself embroiled in it.
Despite some excellent performances on the pre-season tour where he played more minutes than most of the Man United squad, Sergio Romero was brought in by van Gaal to face Tottenham Hotspur and has been the No.1 since.
That has frustrated his agent, Jordan Segal, who firmly believes he should be on loan if he wasn’t going to play.
“Sam just wants to play football but Manchester United are holding him back and not even playing him,” Segal told the Daily Mail.
“He is a young goalkeeper and it is time for him to play regularly. If that is not at Manchester United, then it has to be elsewhere. This is an example of young English talent being held back by Van Gaal.
“The start of the season was the perfect opportunity to give Sam his chance to prove he can play for United. He is ready.
“If they do not want him to play then he needs to move for the sake of his career. He cannot sit on the bench or in the reserves.
“England should have as many goalkeepers as possible to pick from. Given the early progress in his career that is the level he is aiming for. He is not going to get there by not playing.”
I’ve got to admit that it was a surprise to see Romero chosen ahead of Johnstone for the Spurs game simply because the 21-year-old had played so much, and so well, on the US tour whereas Romero hadn’t played at all.
However, you can’t argue with his performances after that up until his errors against Swansea which ultimately cost United the game.
Segal is certainly right that Johnstone should have been loaned out if De Gea was going to stay but that wasn’t going to be the case until the last minute. If he had have left, Johnstone may have been United’s deputy.
Is there a happy goalkeeper at United right now? De Gea would rather be in Madrid, Valdes is at loggerheads with van Gaal, Romero is well aware his run as No.1 is likely to be over and Johnstone knows he won’t get many opportunities at United this year.
No matter what way you look at it, United’s dealing of the goalkeeping situation overall this summer, bar Anders Lindegaard’s move to West Brom, has been a sloppy mess.