Lee Grant: My job is to make sure the levels are high

Sunday 04 July 2021 19:00

After signing a new one-year extension with Manchester United, Lee Grant sat down with us for an exclusive in-depth interview.

Find out the reason Lee believes the club wanted to keep him on, why he decided to stay, and what he's been doing behind the scenes with his future career path in mind.
Scroll down to read the interview in full...

Lee Grant pens one-year extension article

The goalkeeper is set to stay with United until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Congratulations on signing your new contract, you must be delighted to be extending your stay here with United?

“Yeah, absolutely. I was always very, very hopeful that I could extend my stay for another year and thankfully the club have allowed me to do that. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to the challenge of supporting the team, keeping myself going, as well as motivating others around me for another year.”

We know how popular you are at United, are you loving being a member of the squad still?

“Absolutely, and that's the main reason that I've taken the decision to stay for another year. I think feeling valued and enjoying your role is huge, no matter what line of work you're in, and I'm obviously fortunate that I've got the opportunity to do that at such a wonderful club. I'm really looking forward to another year with the lads.”

We know all about the the goalkeeping department – it has got to be among the strongest in the world, hasn't it?

“Without a shadow of doubt. I'm extremely looking forward to the new dynamic again. It's all change once again, but you've hit the nail on the head. We've got an incredibly strong department. Everybody's capable of pulling their weight and playing and supporting the team. Really looking forward to it, and I'm sure we'll go from strength to strength this year.”
I suppose the idea is that everybody competes with each other and challenges each other and makes things better in training?
“Absolutely. We all have our roles to play when it comes to that. Whoever has the gloves at that particular time, it's up to the other guys to really push - not just support but push and challenge the one who is playing – to make sure that, as a team and as a department, we're able to get the best possible results. Whether it's David, Dean, Tom, myself, we'll all be pushing to play and excited and ready to support the one that is playing.”
Have you come across Tom before? I guess you will have done in your career?
“Absolutely. We played against each other many times. He actually came into Burnley just after I'd left. We've done a lot of work together at the PFA over the last five or six years, so we've got a really good relationship and I'm sure that will help in terms of him being able to settle and us being able to form a strong dynamic as a group.”
Goalkeepers are maybe different, in that they're in it together and a very close-knit group?
“Absolutely, but that doesn't mean we can't challenge each other and push each other though. What we are fortunate with here at Manchester United is that we've got four characters that are able to get along and co-exist, which is not always the case. We're fortunate that we are able to do that to a very high standard. What that does allow us to do is to push each other and genuinely and authentically push and challenge each other on the training ground. I think that's one of the reasons that the club has decided to keep me around - because I help to do that as well. Challenge younger guys, push and, as I say, make sure that the levels are really high for whoever is playing at the weekend.”
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And are you still doing the coaching, still working on those badges?
“Absolutely, and again that's certainly part of my thinking in terms of remaining at the football club. I've got really great options at this football club to progress and the club have been so, so great with me in doing that. Richard Hartis and Craig [Mawson], who are obviously my go-to people in terms of my goalkeeping aspirations and learning, they've been great with me. Of course, beyond that, I've got the first-team coaching staff and the manager, who have been really, really good in terms of allowing me to explore my coaching ideas, but also giving me those opportunities. A big thank you to the Academy as well, because they've been great with giving me opportunities to coach. So I'm really really thankful for that and I'm hoping that I can continue to do that over the next 12 months.”
We know you've got long-term ambitions to be a manager yourself. I was wondering watching the Euros, do you watch it in a different way, more analytical, or are you just enjoying it like the rest of us?
“No, I'll be honest, I watch it absolutely as you would be doing. I try and watch it as a fan and enjoy it and take a step back actually, because it's a very short period we get off away from the game, and for the next 9-10 months I'll be fully analytical mode, as you put it. So, yeah, I try and watch it as a fan and enjoy it with my England shirt on and just take it in like that!”
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And we know you were buzzing for Harry and Luke, in particular, the way they played against Germany. It was great to see them doing so well, wasn't it?
“Yeah, I mean I'm delighted for all of the guys involved. Disappointing that Dean hasn't been able to remain a part of the camp, especially seeing how hard he worked during the course of the season to be involved and to put himself in contention actually for a starting place, at one point, I would say. For Marcus, for Harry and for Luke, absolutely delighted. The performances have been wonderful so far, and to see Harry and Luke's performances, incredible. The defensive performances we've seen over the last couple of weeks have been phenomenal, so long may that continue. We're hopeful that they can go the whole way obviously.”