Why the goalkeepers union is a big plus for United
Manchester United must have a claim to possessing the strongest goalkeeping department in the world and Lee Grant believes this is of huge benefit to the club and each individual involved.
Grant came off the bench in Saturday's pre-season friendly at Aston Villa to replace Dean Henderson, who is back from two successful seasons at Sheffield United and earned post-match praise from manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
David De Gea is fresh from some excellent work for Spain in the UEFA Nations League, while ultra-reliable Sergio Romero has long been considered one of the best no.2 keepers in the business. January signing Nathan Bishop is also part of the group and the youngster made his first appearance for the Reds last week, keeping a clean sheet in the 6-0 win at Salford City in the EFL Trophy.
Grant believes the intense competition for places will create a healthy environment and is reflective of the desire to have strength in depth in all areas of the pitch.
“There were lots and lots of positives,” Grant told us after the match at Villa Park.
“I don't think anyone will be taking too much notice of the scoreline.
“The most important thing the gaffer stressed before the game was it's a continuation of the work we've been doing in training, especially from the physical aspect, getting valuable minutes into the tank for quite a few players.
“I thought Dean did fantastically well. It's been great to have him back in among us. David has come back from international duty as sharp as ever. I've kept a clean sheet today so I've made the gaffer's job even more difficult for next week!
“It's been great, there's a really good atmosphere within the group and the goalkeeping department is no different to any other department. We're all pulling in the right direction and striving to be fit and ready, and looking forward to next weekend [the opener against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford].
“I imagine, for Dean, it [the loan] has given him huge confidence in himself, and that self-belief is all important, especially at a young age. The next test is obviously in front of him now and he's committed his future to the football club, which is wonderful news. It's great for the department - myself, Dean, Sergio, David, Nathan. It's a long list!
“We all want to play and all want to do well for this club and that can only enhance the atmosphere in the group.”
Highlights: Aston Villa 1 United 0Video
The 37-year-old was asked by MUTV's Stewart Gardner if it is a nice situation for the manager to have, when choosing who wears the gloves.
“I think so,” he replied.
“He's got good characters and good individuals here. That's important and all four or five of understand what it takes. We all want to support each other but, most importantly, we all have the determination to be better than the next one. That's crucial and will stand us in really good stead over the course of the season.
“There are lots and lots of games to play and it's all hands on deck. The goal for this football club is playing 60+ matches a season continuously, and we've shown that we can do that. We're beginning to develop a robustness about us and, certainly, the group is getting stronger and stronger. The goalkeeping department reflects the rest of the group, in that respect.
“Over the course of the season, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for players to stake their claim.”