'Getting to United has been a fantastic journey'
Lee Grant may have been signed in a supportive role to Manchester United's men between the sticks, but the goalkeeper insists he is determined to play a vital role in the Reds' charge for honours this season.
The 35-year-old spoke exclusively to MUTV before his first training session of Tour 2018, presented by Aon, and discussed the warm welcome he has been afforded by Jose Mourinho and his squad and how he is always willing to learn...
If we’d have told you a year ago you’d be on Manchester United’s pre-season tour this summer, what would you have said?
I probably would have doubted your sanity somewhat! [Smiles] It’s been a fantastic journey to get me here and I’m certainly looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to a nice pre-season, we’ve got our first training session at UCLA so it should be fun.
When you got the call to join United – how did you feel?
Excited, obviously, and then anxious to get everything over the line and eager to get started. That’s been the case throughout the off-season – I was really eager to get here and get started.
'Fletch told me how fantastic United is'
In his first MUTV interview, Lee Grant revealed that he was sold on how great a club United is by a former Red...
We remember you single-handedly keeping out Zlatan Ibrahimovic when you were playing at Old Trafford for Stoke – do you think that was a factor in this deal?
Maybe so! I think it was more likely my performances over the course of the season and my consistency levels but certainly I would imagine that performance caught the eye of one or two at the football club.
You’ve been playing with one of our former greats at Stoke City, in Darren Fletcher. Have you spoken to him about joining United?
I have, yes, Fletch has been great. I managed to grab some lunch with him a week or so before I joined up with the boys and he gave me a little rundown on the club, who to avoid speaking to and who to cosy up to! [Laughs] In all seriousness he’s been great, he told me what a fantastic football club it is and he was certain I was going to enjoy my time here.
What are your first impressions of the group and the people you’ve met so far?
We’ve got a young group at the moment as we’re missing a few guys and missing some of the senior players following their exploits over the summer [at the World Cup]. I’m looking forward to having those guys back but so far the group has been wonderful and has welcomed me in nicely. I’m looking forward to getting started and working with them.
There are one or two top goalkeepers at United already. Are you looking forward to trying to dislodge them?!
Yeah, most definitely! To work with one of the best to have ever played in the Premier League in David De Gea and then have Argentina’s number one in Sergio [Romero], it’s not a bad combination. I’ve had the privilege of working with Joel [Pereira] for a couple of weeks and what an excellent keeper he looks. So for me, yes, it’s a mammoth task ahead to try to dislodge one of those guys, but in all seriousness I’m really looking forward to learning off them and working with them. And I know from having spoken to a lot of people that they’re all good guys.
Yes, definitely. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you’ve come from or what you’ve done in the past, if you’ve got a real professional desire like I have to go and play then that’s something you want to continue to do. I’ll continue to be like that well into my 40s and I’m sure when my career has finished, it’s always something that has driven me on. Listen, I want to play and be involved as much as I can in the team but I’m also aware that my role primarily may have to be one to support [the others]. But I’m willing to fill in as and when, and it will be good to get started.
You’ve had a long and successful career but you never stop learning do you?
That’s probably the reason why I’m here. I’d say I’m a player that has always been happy to learn; I’m an open book. I did it in my two years at Stoke and I went there when people probably thought, 'he’s 33 and coming to the end and maybe winding down.' But for me that wasn’t the case, I was there to try to get better and to improve and I showed I was capable of playing at the highest level. And I’ll look to adapt and do the same thing here.