United likely to promote Matej Kovar

With the likely impending move of Dean Henderson away from Old Trafford for next season, a position becomes vacant in the first team to back David de Gea and Tom Heaton. While omitting de Gea from the Spanish squad for the Nations League coach Luis Enrique reasoned "A goalkeeper should start the play and generate the first superiority, they must dominate the aerial play... I need a goalkeeper that transmits peace and calmness to me, that doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes, errors are part of football. What they generate I like a lot." Despite this snub, and due to his excellent form for Manchester United in 2021-22 campaign David de Gea won his fourth Player's Player of the Year award, he is likely to remain the first choice keeper of the new manager Erik ten Hag next season. While the purists would argue de Gea is not ETH type of keeper and Henderson should instead get the nod but the practicality is that Spaniard's astronomical wages are unaffordable by most other clubs. 

Ex-United youth goal keeper Tom Heaton returned to the club last summer and has over a 100 English Premier League appearances mainly for Burnley with 3 England caps, making him a competent backup to the Spaniard. The squad usually needs three goal keepers for the entire season. Instead of looking in the transfer market the club might promote from within. Clearly the choice has to be Matej Kovar as Nathan Bishop has not got sufficient exposure yet signed in January, 2021 from Southend. To address this lacuna the club had Bishop loaned out for one full season at Mansfield Town playing over 50 matches and gaining valuable match experience including the high-pressure play-offs eventually losing 0-3 to Port Vale.

Kovar meanwhile in his 4.5 years at United has more game time at both academy level and away at two clubs for two half-seasons. The 22-year old Czech goal keeper Kovar got his first senior call last September after keeping two clean sheets in U21 games having represented his country more than 20 times from U18's onwards. He was later in January loaned out to Burton Albion in EFL League One where in 6 matches he collected 2 'Man of the Match' awards with whoscored rating of 7.35. Last year he helped Manchester United gain promotion to top tier in Premier League 2. Club official biography highlights one of his key traits as saving penalties.

Loaned to Swindon Town who play in EFL League Two where he had 'baptism by fire' in Wiltshire conceding 41goals in 20 games before his deal was cut short in Jan 2021. Kovar signed a new contract this February that expires in June 2023 with option to extend for one more year before agreeing a loan move to the Brewers. Perhaps the short span of new contract suggests lack of confidence in the player but since then there has been progress based on 2 'MotM' awards and the video below. This is a welcome change at United where contract situation has positively impacted players performance. Hopefully the sign of things to come under Richard Arnold and John Murtough. In this recent match highights below for Burton Albion against Accrington Stanley one can clearly see his superb shot stopping skills too. Looks promising and ready for first team participation.

Kovar already has experience of being in the first team having been an unused substitute on the bench when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took a young side to play Astana away in the Europa League in Nov, 2019 as United had already qualified from the group. In the recent Euro U21 championship Group G match the top two sides Engalnd and Czech Republic played each other on 3rd June. Matej Kovar played full 90 minutes for Czech Republic while James Garner played for England who won the match 2-1. Draw for the U21 playoffs will be announced on 21st June. United signed another young Czech keeper Radek Vitek in summer of 2020.

Sir Alex Ferguson was on a look out for potential signings to replace Roy Keane when he went to watch Eric Djemba Djemba play for Nantes vs Rennes. Czech legendary keeper Petr Cech was only 18 or 19 playing for Rennes and Fersguson deemed him "too young". Based on Cech's sucees at an early age at Chelsea later prompted Ferguson to go for David de Gea at just 21.

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