Manchester United loanee Nathan Bishop has won 9 of his last 10 games
Loan moves are far from easy for young players to thrive in. Often it is clubs at the wrong end of the table in their various divisions who reach out to top flight clubs looking to reinforcements.
One player who is currently doing really well is Manchester United youngster Nathan Bishop.
Goalkeeper Bishop signed with Mansfield Town early in the campaign, and was expected to be battling it out in the bottom half of League Two.
And for the first half of the season, this proved correct, with Mansfield winning only two of their first 14 league matches.
The win over Tranmere at the end of October was a real turning point. Mansfield have now won nine of their last 10 League Two matches.
There was also a FA Cup upset over Sunderland in there too for good measure, before they eventually fell to United’s upcoming opponents Middlesbrough in the third round.
Now fully concentrating back on the league, Mansfield’s form has propelled them into promotion contention.
Currently they sit seventh, occupying the final play-off spot. They have won five of their last five, form unmatched by any side in the division.
Bishop kept a clean sheet at the weekend in a 2-0 victory over Walsall, one of five he has kept this season. He has conceded just 30 goals in 24 matches, and has been an ever-present for his loan side.
Bishop had already played first team football for Southend before making the move for Manchester United at the start of 2020.
He is proving he is more than capable of dealing with the rigours of the lower leagues, and at just 22, he is picking up tremendous experience and has not been hurt by barely playing at United for 18 months. Instead all the behind the scenes training seems to have helped him.
Getting a promotion on his CV would be a great way to top off his season on loan, although there is a long way to go, 22 more games in fact, plus potential play-offs.
But it is good to see a United youngster thriving out on loan, essentially pushing the club to come up with another improvement plan for him next season.
What is next for Bishop?
United could switch him up a level this month and find a new club for him in a higher division, but it is unlikely as he is proving such a key player for the Stags.
Bishop’s chance in a higher league could come next season if Mansfield are promoted, or United could fast-track him to the Championship. This strategy has paid off with Di’Shon Bernard, who made a successful jump from Salford City to Hull City this season.
Whether Bishop can go out on loan again also depends what happens with Manchester United’s cohort of goalkeepers this summer.
Dean Henderson could be sold or go out on loan, while Lee Grant will be released. United may want Bishop around as extra cover, and he will be better prepared if called upon in an emergency, thanks to this loan spell, which has plenty still left to offer.
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