Only a few weeks ago, it appeared that Patrick Vieira was going to have an almighty task on his hands to decide who’d be Crystal Palace’s No 1 with two of Jack Butland, Sam Johnstone and Guaita set to be disappointed come Friday evening.
However, that decision appears to have very quickly got a lot easier for the French boss as Butland broke his hand during a pre-season friendly, while new signing Johnstone is still yet to play a minute of action this summer, leaving Guaita as the only realistic option.
This is exactly what Cook expects to happen come the first game of the season against Arsenal.
He said: “The big story, I suppose, this morning is that Jack Butland has revealed that he has sustained a broken hand during our pre-season tour of Australia. He went to save that shot, had an outstretched hand, the ball hit it and he’s broken it.
“He doesn’t require surgery, he said that on his own social media yesterday. But it does, I suppose, put us in a situation where Patrick Vieira and the rest of the coaching staff will be very glad that Sam Johnstone joined the football club.
Who should be Palace's number one?
“Remi Matthews has already moved out on loan, I believe, to St Johnstone, leaving Vicente Guaita and Sam Johnstone as the two options for Patrick Vieira in between the sticks for the first team. We haven’t seen Sam Johnstone in a Palace kit yet, which means that Vicente Guaita is almost guaranteed to be starting against Arsenal a week today.”
TIF Thoughts on Johnstone’s situation…
It remains unclear why Johnstone has not featured in a single pre-season friendly for Palace since joining as a free agent earlier this summer, however, Vieira will be hoping he can provide good competition and depth in the goalkeeping department.
With the World Cup now just a few months away, Johnstone will likely be eager to get back out on a Premier League pitch and show his worth to Gareth Southgate after being excluded from the last few England squads due to injury and having been playing in the Championship last season.