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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 been in a first-team game for United, but the level of love and respect his teammates have displayed on social media following Monday’s announcement reveals how popular he is and how he conducts himself on a daily basis. day basis.

Goalkeeper David de Gea responded to United’s Instagram post with a “heart-eye” emoji, while Juan Mata called Bishop “the best guy and top professional”.

Comments from other colleagues on social media were similar, with Bruno Fernandes calling him “best boy” and saying he was an “amazing professional”.

Scott McTominay added: “It makes me happy to see this. What a professional. “

Contrary to the hypothesis, Bishop is do not United Under-23 goalkeeper. He has only made one appearance in one competition this season, in the EFL Trophy against Salford City, and the club’s regular reserve team scorers have been Ondrej Mastny and Paul Woolston.

Nathan Bishop
Bishop made only one U-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 roster”. 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 in the running for playing games… or even getting on the bench.

Bishop is obviously eligible to play, unlike players on the NFL practice team. But as United’s fourth goalkeeper, his contributions on the training ground are much greater at this point and are obviously keenly felt by his team-mates, given their reaction to his reward for 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 on his medical report, with a senior local reporter mistaking him for the midfielder. Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge, whom United had previously spotted but was already set to join Sheffield United.

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

The goalkeeper wasn’t 20 years old when he moved to Manchester, but already had some good first-team experience under his belt for such a youngster.

Bishop had become the first pick at Southend midway through the 2018/19 season and was then on the struggling squad again in 2019/20. Scouts United clearly saw enough potential in him to recommend him and the deal was done at the end of the January window.

For Bishop now, the goal must be to keep training and continue to impress the people he works with. He will evolve at United, which will either put him better in the running for a place in the squad, or at least prepare him for a good career elsewhere, while serving the club in the meantime.

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