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Sam Johnstone eager to realise Premier League ambition at Aston Villa

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Sam Johnstone is putting any talks over his future on hold until the summer as he fights to win promotion with Villa.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper, who starred in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Cardiff, has enjoyed an excellent season on loan from Manchester United and Villa boss Steve Bruce is eager to sign him on a permanent deal.

Johnstone is keen to continue playing every week and has acknowledged his future may well lie away from Old Trafford, where the chances of dislodging David De Gea as the club’s permanent No.1 appear slim at best.

But for the moment, he insists his only focus is on the Championship promotion race and helping take Villa back to the Premier League.

“I honestly don’t know (what is going to happen). I’m concentrating on Villa at the moment,” he said.

“It’s just a case of waiting, hopefully get Villa promoted and then I’ll sit down in the summer – hopefully after a few holidays – and see where I’m at.

“I want to carry on playing football. I’m enjoying playing football, I’m 25 now and you want to play every week.

“At Man United, you are probably not going to play every week. I only have a year left on my contract. I am just enjoying my time here. I want to get promoted and see what happens.”

Johnstone pulled off four big saves to help Villa past the Bluebirds but was beaten to the man-of-the-match prize by Jack Grealish, who scored a stunning volleyed winner five minutes from time.

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Grealish softened the blow by heaping praise on the keeper and comparing one of his saves to De Gea.

Johnstone said: “That’s nice of Jack, he’s usually moaning at me!

“Of course he (De Gea) is the best goalkeeper in the world. He came to Man United, a massive club at a young age and he’s turned it round through playing games. That’s what I’m experiencing now at Villa. I’m playing, I’m enjoying it.

“At United I would watch him every day. He’s not much older than me but you just pick things up from him.

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“He’s very calm – that’s the one thing I’ve taken from him. But obviously his biggest quality is his shot-stopping which is unbelievable.”

Villa now host Leeds on Friday night, knowing a win could cut the gap on second-placed Fulham to two points.

Johnstone said: “We just have to give it our all, see where it takes us and go from there.

“Everyone wants to play in the Premier League. I want to go and play in the Premier League. I don’t see myself as young anymore, at 25.

“But this is my first full season at one club so it is also a year of learning for me.

“It is a Tuesday night, with 35,000 watching. You play Birmingham and there are 40,000 watching. If we can get up it will be like that every week.

“It is a joy to play at Villa Park in front of this crowd and please them. On Tuesday, we did that. Hopefully we do the same on Friday and for the last few games. We’ll see what happens.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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