Young goalkeeper Jacob Carney announced on social media last month that he has signed a new contract with Manchester United.
Carney is one of several young goalkeepers on United’s books, and he faces a tough task to stand out – when ultimately there is just one first team spot up for grabs. Time is on Carney’s side.
At just 17, he has already trained with United’s first team, flying out to make up the numbers on the squad’s February training camp in Marbella.
Outside of that, Carney has been on loan, with non-league club Stocksbridge Steels.
This has been an invaluable experience for Carney, 17, to get used to playing ‘men’s football’ early on.
United have so many young goalkeepers that not all of them can feature for the under-18s and under-23s regularly, and loans make sense.
For United and Carney, it is mutually valuable for another loan move to be arranged next season.
Carney has a head start on his young peers thanks to this loan. It is important United capitalise on this.
It will be interesting to compare how Carney’s game develops with continuous loan spells, in non-league and the Football League, in comparison to his academy teammates who are staying at Carrington.
Now United could look to keep Carney put and spend more time working with him closely over the next 12 months.
If that’s the decision which is made then we will certainly trust the coaching staff’s choice.
But there is a real opportunity here to really shape Carney into a young goalkeeper who is ready for the professional game and set himself up for a long career.
It has taken Dean Henderson many years of loans to reach the Premier League.
His first was in 2016 at Stockport County, when he was 19.
Carney already has a headstart, with his first loan spell coming at two years younger.
In a few years time when De Gea is gone, Carney could be putting pressure on Henderson for United’s number one shirt.
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