Dubravka explains secret ingredient
Martin Dubravka became the first Slovakian to represent a senior Manchester United team when appearing against Aston Villa in our Carabao Cup third-round victory, before the World Cup break.
The loan signing from Newcastle United has had to be patient but made his debut in the 4-2 victory and looks set to be part of the training camp in Spain and push for inclusion in the competition again, when we return to action with the home tie against Burnley before Christmas.
In a recent interview with club media, he discussed his goalkeeping style and why the region seems to be producing so many talented stoppers, with Radek Vitek on the Reds' books.
Kovar is currently on loan at Sparta Prague in Czech Republic, his homeland, while Under-21s ace Mastny and FA Youth Cup-winning no.1 Vitek are also from the same country.
Former Academy keeper Alex Fojticek, now with Bardejov, also hails from Slovakia, like Dubravka.
Martin feels it is no real coincidence, simply there are character traits that translate well when it comes to operating between the posts.
“It’s always good to have someone who is speaking a similar language as yours," he said of his arrival at Carrington. "You always have the language barrier there so, when Matej was here, before he left for Sparta, we enjoyed the time together.
“This is the first time in my whole career where I have a team-mate from Czech Republic or Slovakia. I can really speak with him in my home language and it was very easy for me to join the team and speak to someone here who is already here and established. It’s always nice and they’re nice guys.
“I don’t know [about why there are so many keepers from the region]. I think the people try to work hard and our mentality is to never give up. So you always work hard and try to be better and improve. I think it’s not easy, obviously, coming here from abroad to compete with different players, different quality players. I’m glad I could show it and that I deserve to be here.”
Dubravka made his Reds bow in that Villa tie and feels he has a certain style to his play in one of the hardest positions on the pitch.
"I am very vocal!" he admitted, when asked to describe himself. "I am trying to help players as I think they need that. It’s a helpful thing to give them information. I like to play with my feet, come for the crosses and make a difference with the saves. But it’s up to how the game is and you can only adapt and show how you can perform.
"The goalkeeper has changed a lot. You have to have a confidence to play. You have to be an extra player, comfortable with your feet. That’s the way how I’m trying to be.
"Yes, shot stopping is the main part but, as I said, you have to be very complex at this time so you have to work on separate aspects. I’m trying to work on myself in general.”
Dubravka will hope to get a run-out in the upcoming friendlies with Cadiz and Real Betis in Spain, as the Reds begin to prepare for a return to domestic action after the World Cup.
"You always have to be ready," he explained. "I'm trying to prepare as a normal game, it's up to the coach who he is going to pick, but I try to be fit.
"I had a couple of offers as well from abroad, and here in England in as well, which I considered. But, obviously when I had the chance to join Manchester United, it was quite simple for me. I wanted to join and want to be part of the process and part of this club. So I’m here now.
“We are very professional, we take it very seriously, and are trying to be ready to perform on the pitch.
"I’m trying to help David [De Gea] to feel ready, but, at the same time, create a very good environment so he feels he has support when he needs it. Even you say it, the goalkeepers’ group is very tight. We work together almost every morning, more than with the players, so we have to stick together and have a good relationship together.”
The matches will be shown live on MUTV, which can be accessed via the Man Utd app on the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, on ManUtd.com or via the following connected TV platforms; Samsung Smart TVs, Android TV, LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku TV and Xbox.