Matej Kovar became the hero for Manchester United on Friday night when he saved a late penalty.
The under-23s stopper denied Fulham’s Timmy Abraham from 12 yards to preserve United’s 1-0 win.
Kovar’s save was almost as notable individually as it was for the team. It ensured he remains unbeaten this season.
Kovar has started in five matches, and has kept a clean sheet in every single one.
Fulham’s injury time penalty was the biggest threat to his perfect record, and he was able to stay unbeaten.
United’s previous under-23 game was a 2-2 draw with West Ham, in which Paul Woolston was in goal.
Kovar is only 19-years-old and he is showing that he is United’s top young goalkeeping talent in the academy.
The young Czech stopper is taking a step forward at a key time in his career and positioning himself well, ahead of a potential goalkeeping shake-up.
Dean Henderson, Joel Pereira and arguably Kieran O’Hara are all ahead of Kovar in the queue, behind David de Gea, Sergio Romero and Lee Grant.
De Gea’s status long term remains undefined as yet, and Lee Grant will be released in the summer.
Considering the talent coming through, it also makes sense to allow Romero to seek a move, if De Gea re-signs.
Kovar is at the stage where he should seek a loan move, perhaps in January or next season. It is possible that United include him in Europa League squads during the group stages.
Completing the year with the under-23s and continuing to develop this season is not a bad idea, but beyond this, he will need to be challenged further.
Whatever is planned for him, Kovar is showing he has a very bright future, and he deserves credit for the way he has begun the season.
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