Stoke City’s Jack Butland revealed that he had been impressed with Sam Johnstone’s performances at Aston Villa this season.
The Premier League goalkeeper shared that he thought the 24-year-old, who is currently on loan at the Villans from Manchester United, was good enough to play in England’s top-flight.
“Defensively, they have been excellent this season and a lot of that is down to Sam,” said Butland at the launch of the UEFA European Under-17 Championships, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail.
“He is a real talent, they certainly have a Premier League keeper and that is a big thing for them.
“It is great to see him playing consistently. He has found a home and a club that cares for him, which is so important.”
Johnstone has made 38 appearances this season for Steve Bruce’s side, conceding 37 goals and keeping 15 clean sheets in the process.
Butland went on to add that he rated Johnstone so highly, that he believes that the 24-year-old was competing for a place in the England squad alongside him.
“There is more than just me, Joe (Hart) and Jordan (Pickford) fighting for the England shirt – Sam is firmly in the mix as well,” stated Butland.
Considering Butland used to play for Birmingham City, it’s weird to hear him heap praise on a player currently succeeding at the Villans. It basically shows how impressive Johnstone must appear to the Stoke City goalkeeper in order for him to speak so publicly about the Villans 24-year-old. Bruce will no doubt be hoping to keep Johnstone at the club beyond the end of this season, even though that is when his current loan deal is set to expire. It’s hard to imagine Johnstone, no matter how good he has been this season, being able to kick David De Gea out of the Man Utd team, so he is likely to leave Old Trafford in the summer. However there’s no guarantee that he will end up at the Villans.