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3rd Apr, 2017 | 1:06pm

Bruce tells brilliant anecdote about Aston Villa new signing

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has thanked goalkeeping coach Gary Walsh for identifying Sam Johnstone as the club’s new No.1 goalkeeper.

Johnstone, 24, was snapped up by the Championship club in the January transfer window in a loan deal until the end of the season.

And, after a difficult start to life at Villa Park, Johnstone has shrugged off criticism in his ability to become one of the club’s most consistent performers.

He has kept six clean sheets from his last seven Championship appearances, and Bruce admits he has Walsh to thank.

As quoted by the club’s official Twitter account on Monday, Bruce told a brilliant anecdote of how Walsh instructed him to sign Johnstone at all costs, labelling him as one of the nation’s best.

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He said: “I must say a big pat on the back to Gary Walsh. He said: ‘take him, he’s the best young goalkeeper in the country.'”

Walsh, a former colleague of Bruce at Hull, was recruited by the Aston Villa chief back in November following his arrival as the new manager at Villa Park.

It seems that he’s already repaid the faith Bruce had in him.

Bruce is now believed to be weighing up an extended stay for the goalkeeper in the summer, and is expected to enter talks with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho over a potential deal this week.

His fine form has coincided with a late surge up the Championship table by Aston Villa towards the play-off places, instilling faint hope back into the hearts of fans of a promotion push.

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider reveals why Aston Villa’s £4million man is invaluable to the team and must not be sold this summer.

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