Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone's agent has accused Louis van Gaal of holding his client back after the club refused to let him leave this summer. There were a number of clubs interested in taking the young Englishman on loan, but the goalkeeping turmoil at the club saw him miss out on a prospective move that would have seen him gain regular game time.
The young United stopper was promoted to number two behind Sergio Romero, who has started all of the Red Devils' six games thus far, after Victor Valdes was asked to find a new club, and David de Gea remained sidelined from the first-team due to speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid. However, the Spaniard will be back in contention for a spot in the team after his long standing move to the 10-time European champions collapsed on transfer deadline day.
The 22-year-old 'keeper, who was touted to be given a first-team chance after featuring in most of United's games during their pre-season tour of the United States, was overlooked at the start of the campaign. This prompted several interested clubs to ponder a loan move, with the stopper showing interest in a move away.
Johnstone's agent Jordan Segal has now hit out at the Dutch manager for stunting the development of his client by making him stay with the Old Trafford club with no guarantees of first-team football. The England U20 international is not keen on sitting on the bench or playing in the reserves at this stage of his career.
"Sam just wants to play football but Manchester United are holding him back and not even playing him," Segal told the Daily Mail, as quoted by Goal.com
"He is a young goalkeeper and it is time for him to play regularly. If that is not at Manchester United, then it has to be elsewhere. This is an example of young English talent being held back by Van Gaal."
"The start of the season was the perfect opportunity to give Sam his chance to prove he can play for United. He is ready. If they do not want him to play then he needs to move for the sake of his career. He cannot sit on the bench or in the reserves," the goalkeeper's representative explained.
"England should have as many goalkeepers as possible to pick from. Given the early progress in his career that is the level he is aiming for. He is not going to get there by not playing."