Johnstone reveals message from De Gea

Former Manchester United Academy goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has revealed David De Gea sent him a message of congratulations after receiving his first senior England call-up last week.

Johnstone is a product of our famed youth system and, although a first-team appearance never arrived for the 2011 FA Youth Cup-winner, he was a valued member of our squad at the Aon Training Complex, often working closely with De Gea and enhancing his education when he was not on loan elsewhere. 

Sam’s stock has risen significantly in recent seasons, initially during a temporary spell with Aston Villa and, most recently, after his 2018 transfer to current club West Bromwich Albion, for whom he has shone in the Premier League this campaign.

Johnstone was included in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad when it was announced last week and, as he explained during a press conference on Tuesday, his former United team-mate and mentor De Gea was quick to get in touch.

 

“He texted me when I got the call-up, saying he was happy for me and really proud,” Sam told reporters, before expanding on how he learned from David at United.

“It's really nice to hear from someone like that, who I trained alongside for a number of years and learned a lot from.

“Just to be around him every day was special. To work with someone like that. He was young, playing for Manchester United and Spain.

“You pick stuff up from being around him and watching him and how calm he is and how good he is because he is one of the best. It was great to be around him and learn from that.”

United is a family club and Dean Henderson will no doubt have welcomed Johnstone into the England fold with open arms, showing his fellow Academy graduate the ropes at international level. Sam also knows his fellow FA Youth Cup-winner Jesse Lingard and another homegrown Red in Marcus Rashford.

The club is proud of every player who flourishes from the Academy and to have contributed two of the three current Three Lions goalkeepers is a fine achievement.

Speaking of pride, Edwin van der Sar has also sent his best wishes to Johnstone after working with the Englishman during his final year or two at United, when Sam was rising through the ranks. The great Dutchman tweeted his own message…

 

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