Sam Johnstone: Goalkeeper had 'sweaty palms' when he joined up with England

By Alex HowellBBC Sport
Sam Johnstone
West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone won the Under-17 European Championship in 2010 with England
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West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone says he had "sweaty palms" when he joined up with the England squad at St George's Park.

The 27-year-old has represented England at youth levels but his last games were for the under-20s in 2013.

"I was so excited, even though I knew a lot of the lads and a lot of the staff," he said.

"I've not been to St George's for a few years in an England squad. This is the senior team, it is the biggest one."

He added: "The lads are great and the staff are great and I have settled in straight away. Everyone clicks together and has a good time and works hard."

Despite being uncapped at senior level, Johnstone is an England player who can claim to have won something on the international stage.

He was part of the under-17 squad that won the European Championship in 2010 but does not think there is too much he can draw from that experience as he aims to break into Gareth Southgate's squad for Euro 2020.

"It's probably completely different," he said.

"The Euros in the summer is huge. Everyone has that winning mentality and that goes all the way from the manager, to the players and staff.

"It was a long time ago the under-17s one, and a lot has changed."

Johnstone was a young goalkeeper at Manchester United at that time and was hoping to break into the side when United signed David de Gea.

And he received a message from the Spaniard when the latest England squad was announced.

"He sent me a text when I got the call-up saying he was happy and really proud," he said. "It was really nice to hear from someone like that, someone I trained alongside for a number of years and learnt a lot from.

"To work with someone like that, he was young, playing for Man Utd, and just to be around him every day was special.

"You pick stuff up from being around him and watching him. Seeing how calm he is and how good he is, he is one of the best.

"It was great to be around him and learn from that. I had to go and make my own path and own career."

That journey has taken Johnstone to Doncaster, Preston North End, Aston Villa and now to a West Brom side who are at the wrong end of the Premier League table.

"I've been busy this year, [it's] totally different to last year being top of the Championship and not having much to do. This year I have been really busy.

"I've enjoyed it, it sounds daft because we are near the bottom, but I have enjoyed making saves. I've enjoyed playing against top teams and top players and to be able to show people what I can do.

"I've been able to show people that I can make saves and keep West Brom in a game against world-class players, what more can I ask for?"

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