James Chester reckons Villa are beginning to see the best of Sam Johnstone after praising the goalkeeper’s man-of-the-match performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Wigan.
The 23-year-old shot-stopper made a string of key saves as Steve Bruce’s team emerged from a scrappy encounter at the DW Stadium with a fifth victory in six games.
Johnstone endured a difficult start to life at Villa Park after joining on loan from Manchester United in January, following high-profile errors in defeats at Wolves and Nottingham Forest.
But centre-back Chester believes Villa’s defence was partially to blame for the young goalkeeper’s early struggles and has tipped him to get even better in the weeks ahead.
“It was a difficult start for Sam here and I don’t think we helped him, we were all over the place at some points,” admitted the Villa skipper. “I’m delighted for him. He is showing what a really good keeper he is and I am sure he has a bright future ahead.”
Johnstone twice denied Michael Jacobs as Villa struggled to get going against the struggling Latics and then pulled off the save of the match to keep out an effort from Omar Bogle, after Chester had headed the visitors ahead.
Chester added: “Everyone went over to congratulate him at the end of the game for the save he made at 1-0.
“There are not too many keepers playing in the league at 23. Sam has an awful lot of ability and a calm head on his shoulders.
“He has all the attributes of being a really good goalkeeper and we are seeing signs of that now. With age he is only going to get better.”
Chester’s praise of Johnstone was echoed by boss Steve Bruce, who described the keeper’s performance as his best in a Villa shirt.
“He’s progressing week by week,” said the boss. “He’s a young player who we brought into the club and he can only get better.
“Saturday was his best performance in terms of making two really good saves, really good ones which matter down to his left-hand side.Subscribe to our Newsletter