Nathan Bishop and his unique role at Manchester United

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Manchester United handed 21-year-old goalkeeper Nathan Bishop a new contract this week, extending his contract with the club until the summer of 2023.

Bishop has never played a first team game for United, but the level of love and respect his teammates have posted on social media following Monday’s announcement reveals how popular he is and how he behaves on a day-to-day basis. . day basis.

Also goalkeeper David de Gea responded to United’s post on Instagram with a ‘heart eyes’ emoji, while Juan Mata called Bishop a ‘great guy and great professional’.

Comments from other colleagues on social media were similar, with Bruno Fernandes labeling him a ‘top guy’ and calling him an ‘amazing professional’.

Scott McTominay added: “This makes me happy to see this. How professional. “

Contrary to what is assumed, Bishop is no United goalkeeper under-23. He has only made one appearance in any competition this season, at the EFL Trophy against Salford City, and the regular blocks for the club’s reserve team have been Ondrej Mastny and Paul Woolston.

Nathan Bishop
Bishop has only made one under-23 appearance for Man Utd | Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Instead, apparently the best way to sum up Bishop’s role at Old Trafford is to borrow a term from the NFL and refer to him as a member of the “practice team.” That is, he trains every day with the first team and works closely with the trio of senior goalkeepers De Gea, Dean Henderson and Lee Grant, but he’s not really fit to play games … or even get on the bench. .

Obviously, Bishop is eligible to play, unlike the NFL’s ‘practice squad’ players. But as United’s fourth-chosen goalkeeper, his contributions on training camp are far more important at this stage and are obviously enthusiastic about his teammates, given his reaction to the reward of a new contract.

Bishop joined United in January 2020 from League Two Southend, initially signing a contract until 2022. His arrival actually caused some confusion when he reported to his doctor, and a high-level local journalist mistook him for Norwegian midfielder Sander. Berge, whom United had previously investigated but was already on the verge of joining Sheffield United.

Nathan Bishop
Bishop played 39 first-team games for Southend | Naomi Baker / Getty Images

The goalkeeper was not long in his 20s when he moved to Manchester, but he already had a fair amount of first-team experience under his belt for one so young.

Bishop had become the first choice at Southend midway through the 2018/19 season and then came in and out of the struggling team again in 2019/20. The United scouts obviously saw enough potential in him to recommend him and the deal closed at the end of the January window.

For Bishop now, the goal has to be to keep learning and continue to impress the people he’s working with. It will unfold at United, which will put you better in contention for a place on the team, or at least set you up for a good career elsewhere, while serving the club in the meantime.

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