Who is Sam Johnstone? Rangers linked goalkeeper goes from Manchester United’s Mr Loans to permanent star


Rangers have reportedly set their sights on West Bromwich Albion keeper Sam Johnstone as they look to build on their squad for next season.

The goalkeeper will be available as a free agent in the summer after his West Brom exit was confirmed by gaffer Steve Bruce.

The 29-year-old has been linked with Rangers who are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper with No.1 Allan McGregor out of contract at the end of this season.

The 40-year-old club legend could well hang up his boots at the end of this year’s campaign but you also cannot rule out one final hurrah.

Martin Fraisl, Benji Siegrist and Zander Clark have all also been tipped with a move to the Light Blues but persuading Johnstone would be a sign of intention.

But where has the keeper been before?



The keeper is out of contract in the summer.

Career so far

Johnstone started his career by joining Manchester United’s academy.

Despite never making it into the starting XI at Old Trafford, Johnstone completed his fair share of loan spells throughout his time at the club.

Johnstone’s loan spells are as followed…

Year Club apps
2011 Oldham Athletic 0

2011-2012

Scunthorpe United

12

2013 Walsall 7
2013 Yeovil Town one
2014 Doncaster Rovers 18
2014-2015 Doncaster Rovers 10
2015 Preston North End 22
2016 Preston North End 4
2017 Aston-Villa twenty-one
2017-2018 Aston-Villa Four. Five

In the summer of 2018, Johnstone signed a four-year contract with newly relegated Championship club West Bromwich Albion for a reported fee of £6.5 million.

He has since gone on to make 167 appearances for the club.

The keeper was part of the West Brom team that lost to Aston Villa in the EFL Championship play-off semi-finals on penalties in May 2019.

However, I have helped the club gain automatic promotion to the Premier League for the 2020–21 season.

He was also an England youth international, winning caps at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-20 levels.

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In March last year, Johnstone was called up by the senior England squad for the first time.

The keeper was named in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for England 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

He made his debut on June 6 in England’s final pre-tournament friendly, a 1–0 win over Romania.

Stats stand out

The keeper has played 36 matches for his club in the Championship this season, playing a total of 3240 minutes.

Johnstone concedes an average of 0.86 goals for every 90 minutes he players, but his shot saving and distribution rank among the best in the league.

He has a solid clean sheet ratio – with 15 blanks in the 36 matches he has played.

The Baggies currently sit 12th in the English Championship.

Performances of note include West Brom’s 1-1 draw at the home of Manchester City in December 2020.

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Johnstone produced two stoppage-time saves to deny İlkay Gündoğan and Raheem Sterling.

During the 2020/21 season, he has also impressed against former club Manchester United and Liverpool, securing 1-1 draws against both.

His fine form resulted in a trio of club awards at the end of the season including the Supporter’s Player of the Year, Player’s Player of the Year and a PFA Community Champion Award for his work off the field.

Multiple suitors

Rangers are not the only side who have their eyes on the keeper.

Johnstone has also recently been linked to Tottenham with a possible return to Manchester United also on the cards.

Spurs are reportedly looking for some competition for Hugo Lloris while Dean Henderson considering his options at Old Trafford.

A number of other clubs, including Southampton, are also rumored to be interested after Johnstone’s West Brom exit was confirmed.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s pitch will need to be on point with plenty of suitors keen.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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