Loan Watch: Norwood and Johnstone at Scunthorpe United

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By Ross Gibson, creator of Scunthorpe United blog Any Old Iron.

Oliver Norwood

Norwood is a decent, creative midfielder and certainly doesn’t look out of place at this level by any stretch of the imagination. His calmness in possession and under pressure has certainly impressed – especially his often inch perfect cross field balls, he very rarely gives the ball away full stop.

Scunthorpe however have a disturbing habit of trying to eek Norwood out on the right flank. You can tell he’s no wide man, and it’s like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. He’s hard working, seems to have settled in well and involves himself with attacking set pieces. His lack of competitive first team football is perhaps obvious, because occasionally his inexperience has shown especially when the opposition are in possession.

I do however wish that he’d put himself about a bit more physically. Then again, the often brutish force of League One is a world away from anything that he’ll be used to, and that can only come with time and experience. If he can bulk and wise up he’ll be a major asset for the Iron this season.

I have my doubts as to whether or not he’s good enough to be a future star for Manchester United. If he can continue to improve and progress I see no reason why he cannot become a top quality Championship midfielder.

We’d still quite like him till the end of the season though.

Sam Johnstone

Johnstone is a really talented lad for his age, no question about it. He’s the best young keeper I’ve seen in a long time. That will be why he’s on loan from Man United then!

His distribution is sound, knowing when to look for short options or punt the ball up the park. His command of his area is impressive, which for a lad who is only 18 and is in his first competitive league spell, is particularly impressive. As is, his complete lack of timidity when bossing about players much older and with more experience than himself.

He’s played well in all the games he’s started making numerous good saves that have kept Scunthorpe in the contest. However, albeit in different ways to Norwood his inexperience does occasionally show, but if it didn’t, we’d have Edwin van der Sar on our hands. From set pieces, he sometimes seems to think he’s Superman incarnate, and wants to come for absolutely everything within a 20 yard radius of him.

I’d much rather have this than the opposite problem, but Johnstone’s over-eagerness has cost us at times  if the young lad can stamp that out, whilst continuing his development he’ll be a top quality keeper one day, no question.

Check the latest Reserve team statistics here.

Check the latest U18s statistics here.

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