Bernard proud of his progress
Manchester United defender Di'Shon Bernard's loan move to Salford City has been a huge success.
The centre-back has regularly appeared in League Two Teams of the Week since making the short switch to the Peninsula Stadium and attracted interest from other clubs during the January window but was committed to remaining with the promotion-chasing Ammies.
In an exclusive interview, the 20-year-old explained how much he is enjoying regular first-team football after making his senior debut for the Reds in the Europa League tie at Astana in 2019.
"I think it's been a successful loan move for me so far," he said. "I've come in and played a lot of games and just developed a lot as a player. To be fair, I'm just happy I took the step to come out on loan instead of just staying in the Under-23s as I've definitely developed as a player and learned a lot of new things.
“First-team football was definitely something I needed. It comes to a point where the Under-23s was no longer a test [for me] and you need to go out and play men's football to test your ability. I think I've coped well in League Two. I've come up against a lot of different players and I think I've done well, to be honest.
“League Two is definitely a league where you see a lot of aerial balls but it's showed me football is not always about the nice parts on the floor, playing out from the back. Teams can hoof it long and play off second balls, yet still dominate and win the game. It's definitely something I've learned and I've coped well with it. You come up against big strikers, small strikers, and the big ones are the most difficult! But it's been a good test and I've coped well really.”
Bernard has experience of both Chelsea and United's Academies, two of the very best in the game, and has relished the chance to impress Graham Alexander initially before Richie Wellens took over as manager in November.
"You've just got to have that strong head and be good mentally, to be honest," he said. "You know loans can be difficult sometimes and a lot of players go on loan and end up not playing. Luckily for me, that was not the case. I went in straight away and trained hard and worked hard. The gaffer saw that and I got chances in the team and took them really.
“I think both managers liked me. When they came in, they both spoke to me which gave me good belief. Richie, when he came in, spoke to me and said he'd watched me before at United. It was a good thing. Every day, he's literally telling me how I can get better and improve really and I'm definitely thankful to him.”
The defender is pleased with his form and keeps in touch with his United colleagues for updates on their progress.
"It's always good to see yourself in the Team of the Week," he admitted. "It gives me a lot of confidence for my next performance. I think we've kept a lot of clean sheets this season, we're one of the best defensive teams in the league but that's not just me, obviously the rest of the back-four working for each other. I'm definitely proud of that. I think we're also the only team not to get beat at home in England, if I'm not wrong, so that's definitely a good thing to have and hopefully keep for the rest of the season.
“We're all in group chats [all the United lads], and we we all check in with each other. I know a lot of people are doing well - there's Ethan [Laird], Jimmy [Garner] and Teden [Mengi] in the Championship and League One, doing well, and Dylan [Levitt] has gone to Croatia. Everyone is in touch with each other and we're all like a little family. It's basically the loanees but also some of the people still there like Arnau [Puigmal] and the others. Everyone is in touch with everyone else.”