Altay Bayindir with podcast hosts David May and Sam Homewood.

How Altay Bayindir became a goalkeeper

Monday 30 October 2023 17:00

Things could have worked out very differently for Manchester United goalkeeper Altay Bayindir, if not for his mother and a former football manager back home in Bursa.

The Turkey international, who signed for the Reds from Fenerbahce in the summer, is still awaiting a debut for the club, with Andre Onana donning the gloves in every game so far in 2023/24.

But the 25-year-old is immersing himself in his new surroundings, improving his English and putting it to the test in a brand-new episode of the UTD Podcast.

During a 35-minute-long chat with hosts Sam Homewood and David May, Altay’s character shines through as he jokes about playing every position other than in goal as a youngster.

It was only his height that convinced an old coach of his potential and, while Bayindir was initially reluctant, the uniqueness of the position and the acclaim he’d receive when making saves eventually won him over.

Why Altay’s mum knew best Video

Why Altay’s mum knew best

UTD Podcast clip | Altay Bayindir might have been a defender or a striker, if not for a kitchen chat with his mother…

“In the garden, I never played in the goalkeeper position. I was always a striker, really!” he begins. “My first position was defender, then striker. Then it’s a different story, I need to say this.

“When I was playing for Bursaspor, my first club when I was younger, I’m a defender. One day, the goalkeeper didn’t come for training.

“The manager said: ‘Altay you are tall. Go, but enjoy. You can play in this position. Go in goal.’

“‘No coach, I want to play striker, or defender’. [He said:] ‘No, let’s try.’

“I felt good, I’m jumping and the ball is coming, everyone is saying: ‘Yes, Altay!’

“I would watch every game, every player [would be] in the same shirt, but the goalkeeper is different, [he’s in a] different colour. It feels good. The ball is coming and if you are catching it, you are a hero. If a penalty is saved, [your team-mates say:] ‘Yes you did it!’”

Altay, then aged 12 and with the academy of his hometown club, was set on the path which would take him all the way to captaining Fenerbahce, playing for the national team and joining United.

However, it still took a conversation with his mother for him to come to his final decision…

Altay: I fight from the heart Video

Altay: I fight from the heart

UTD Podcast clip | In a new episode, Altay Bayindir expresses his elite mentality, love for Edwin van der Sar and more…

“I spoke with my mum in the kitchen and she is working, cooking,” Altay continues. “I spoke with her.

“‘Mother, what do you think for my position? I can play striker or I can play in goal.’

“She doesn’t know too much [about football], but she knows because she’s watching sometimes, we’re watching games every night on TV.

“She says: ‘You can do [the] goalkeeper position, it’s better for you I think. You’re tall. Don’t run too much, everybody is running!’

“So thank you to my mum for everything, for this information. I love my position of course, it’s very different and difficult, of course.

“But it’s a good feeling when I’m catching the ball and everyone is with me.”

You can listen to the full UTD Podcast episode with Altay Bayindir in the United App and on from Tuesday evening onwards.