Exclusive: Bishop on De Gea, Old Trafford & meeting Ole
Arriving at a new club can be a daunting prospect for any youngster, but Nathan Bishop is revelling in his new surroundings, after joining Manchester United from Southend United in January.
Bishop signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Reds and the 20-year old has already been getting to grips with his new team-mates and coaches during United's time at the Marbella Training Centre.
The youngster has already had the chance to train with first team keepers David De Gea and Sergio Romero in the stunning Spanish sunshine and learned new training techniques with goalkeeping coaches Richard Hartis and Craig Mawson.
In his first exclusive interview, Nathan reflected on how he has settled in as a Red, including who has made him feel most welcome, his outfield playing abilities and how he felt stepping onto the Old Trafford turf for the very first time...
Firstly Nathan, how much have you enjoyed being a Manchester United player so far? What have the last couple of weeks or so been like for you?
"Yeah, it’s been crazy. It has gone really fast as well to be fair. It’s been unreal being around the boys and meeting new people and new surroundings. It’s all so exciting. The boys have been incredible. They’re all top lads as well which has been brilliant."
You said it was a dream come true to join United – were you a Red growing up? How much have you always admired the club?
"They’ve won 13 Premier League titles, they’re a massive club and they have a great name for producing young players and they trust young players as well which is fantastic, and to learn from the likes of David and Sergio is an opportunity you can’t ever turn down."
What were your first impressions of the club when you joined, visiting the Aon Training Complex for first time, meeting Ole, meeting Rich and the Wolves game?
"It’s been so overwhelming. The training ground alone is just incredible, it takes your breath away. There’s so much to learn and so many people to meet which is incredible. Meeting the gaffer as well, he's been incredible with me, which is lovely, and it really sets the tone for a positive environment."
"He just said to enjoy it and work as hard as you can and give everything you’ve got and be positive and just have a smile on your face. Make sure you’re happy and don’t ever worry about anything that goes wrong, be positive and look forward."
What advice have Rich and Craig given you so far as you settle into life as a Red? You knew Rich before, didn’t you?
"Yeah, I met Rich at an under-17 England camp which was nice, it’s always good to catch up. Craig has been brilliant showing me all the different techniques and different things. Him and Rich work hard for us as a group of keepers and they’ve been brilliant for me."
Have you already seen a step up in the training we do here, everything about the place from the work you’ve done with them?
"Yeah, definitely. The intensity of training is crazy. I’ve never had my body ache after a session before, but yeah my body aches in places I didn’t know it would which is nice. You feel it is a step up and the lads are incredible. They’re so fast, they’re on it, their mentality is win, win, win, which is incredible to be around. It breeds an environment which is nice."
"It’s incredible. Serg, you can learn so much from him. David is one of the best in the world, so it’s just an honour to be around him. To learn off everything he does, every little thing, every aspect, his attitude, everything is just fantastic and Sergio as well, he’s just so positive. He’s open to teaching, coaching, helping me as well which is so nice."
You said before that David was someone you admired growing up. What is it about him as a goalkeeper? What do you admire most about his game?
"He’s incredible. His calmness, his composure, he’s got everything. Everything he’s done in the game is just admirable alone. He’s still quite young which is nice as well. He’s just got that character, that positive persona when you’re around him and he’s got time for you as well which is lovely. He’s got time for everyone which is spot on."
In terms of their two qualities. What’s impressed you most about them now you’re up close with them?
"David’s ability to be a goalkeeper is incredible. He can catch everything. Honestly, everything. And Serge as a person and as a character, he’s got that incredible ability to pull things out of nowhere which is unreal. David’s hands and David’s saves as well. They’re both top tier keepers."
And do you already feel like you’ve learned so much in these first couple of weeks?
"Yeah, my brain has become full of information. There’s always space and time to learn. One thing that Rich and Craig have got into me so far is that it’s a marathon not a race. I’ve got two and a half years at the club thankfully and I’ve got time to learn off some of the best players in the world."
Can you tell the fans a bit more about yourself and your experiences with Southend?
"I loved my time at Southend. I played 39 games for the club and they’re an incredible little club and they’ve got a lot going for them definitely. They looked after me, their fans looked after me and it got hard at times, but I definitely would not look back on it negatively because everything the club did for me and the people inside it was just positive. It was brilliant to play in League One."
"I haven’t. I’ve played in goal most of my life, but I’ve played outfield for my Sunday team most weeks and I’d go in goal here and there if I had to and if I wanted to for the school or the county, but for my Sunday team and anyone else that fancied a kick around I’d play outfield."
So are you good with your feet then as well?
"Yeah I’d hope so, but again that’s what I’m here for, to develop, and the coaches will help me with that as well.”
How do you look back on your first experience as a Red at Old Trafford in the warm-up for the Wolves game? How did it feel stepping out there?
“I don’t think that’s one of those things you ever forget once it’s happened. It was quite surreal. I told myself I wasn't going to go down and I wasn't going to look at the pitch before I went out for the warm-up, but Craig said to me let’s go and look at it and I’m glad I looked at it at first, because it was quite breath-taking at the time. It was unreal.”
Could you take it all in on the day? Did you enjoy it?
“Yeah I think you have to. I think you just have to make the most of it. Being there to warm David up is incredible. You learn so much about a person when they’re focused and how their focus is and his focus is incredible. It’s a winning mentality.”
How beneficial has the warm weather break to Spain been in getting to know the lads better?
"It’s been brilliant. They’ll ask you if you want to go and socialise and if you want to do things which is nice, because you don’t know every character in the dressing room until you spend time with them and once you’ve spent time with them it’s brilliant."
You’re one of a number of young players in the squad – how much do you all help each other?
"Yeah, definitely. They look out for you as well. A young keeper who has just come out, Jacob, and me and him get along straightaway and Mason and Angel, all the young lads they’ve all been brilliant and they’re there for you and they look after you."
Are there any senior players you’ve particularly spoken to a lot since you joined apart from the keepers?
"To be fair I’ve been quite lucky. All of them have been all right. Juan is a leader, he looks after you, he’s got an arm around everyone and he makes sure you’re all right. Scotty is a great pro. H as a captain is brilliant as well, so it’s a lovely environment to be in and great lads."
Has the training out here really given you a taste of the high standards the club has and made you determined to improve and work hard every day?
"Definitely. It’s a winning environment and whatever happens on the pitch training is a winning environment all the time and they are lads that are driven. They want to win and they’re incredible. The standards in training are frightening."
How excited are you for the challenges ahead and have you set yourself any targets?
"I can’t wait to be fair. You’re surrounded by multi-million pound players, the best players in the world, and the dream is to play in the Prem and hopefully United can develop me. I know that United can develop me to push me towards that. Whatever happens in the future is unknown, but I know that United is the best place to be able to go and do it."
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