Sam Johnstone has expressed his desire to play for Manchester United’s first-team in the coming years.
But despite training with the first team since 2011, alongside being included in various pre-season tours, Johnstone is yet to make his senior debut.
Speaking with ManUtd.com, the goalkeeper made it clear he aims to fight for a place in the first-team at Old Trafford.
“It would mean everything,” he said.
“I’ve been with the club since I was 10 years old and have grown up here. That’s what you’re waiting for and you’ve got to be ready for it so, obviously, it would mean everything for both me and my family to make that competitive debut.
“I don’t think there’s any difference between me and, say, Marcus [Rashford] and Jesse [Lingard],” he contends. “They want to play for Manchester United. I want to play for Manchester United. I’m going to have to bide my time a little bit, being in a position where I’ve got one of the best goalkeepers in the world ahead of me but I will use that to my advantage and learn from it.
“Of course, it’s a long road and I have to be patient. I’m still only 23 and learning every day. I do see comments on social media, I even saw it said: ‘You’re a goalkeeper coach’ and stuff like that. It’s the opposite. I’m learning from the coaches, from David and Sergio. So people say things but don’t really know the inside story. I think it’s wrong but people are entitled to their opinion.
“I’m not settling to just sit here. I’m too young to do that. I want to play football and, at this moment of my career, it’s going to be a bit different for me because I am on the learning side of things. But I’m learning from the best in the world at the biggest club. My dream is to play for Manchester United and it’s all about timing. It’s going to be very difficult but it’s my dream.”
Johnstone’s dedication to the cause at Man United is hugely admirable. Most players, after a sustained period of loan moves and games in the reserve team, tend to move on and establish themselves elsewhere. But not Johnstone: he is determined to wait, work hard, and grab his opportunity with both hands when it comes along.
However, with De Gea looking more or less irreplaceable for the foreseeable future, Johnstone will have to bide his time.