Sam Johnstone vows to keep “pushing” Jordan Pickford and England’s other leading shot-stoppers as he targets a full international call-up.
Former Manchester United youngster Johnstone has grabbed his chance to impress in the Premier League this term.
The West Brom No.1 has made 43 saves already – one behind Newcastle’s Karl Darlow who has the most.
And based on Opta’s Expected Goals data, Johnstone has prevented 1.6 goals this season, the most of any goalkeeper in the division.
Little wonder in-form Johnstone is candid about his England ambitions having pulled on the Three Lions jersey for all the national sides from U16s-U20s.
Quizzed about his prospects of a full call-up, Johnstone,27, replied: “I hope so. I have played for England growing up.
“It is everybody’s dream to play for your country.
“I would be proud to do if it happens.
“I knew that I needed to get to the Premier League and perform to have that chance. Hopefully I am in the minds of the staff and in the near future it will be something that happens.
“I just need to keep performing for West Brom and catching the eye of Gareth Southgate and his staff.
“But Southgate came out and he said Pickford is his number one.
“Pickford has never let England down so it is not going to be easy.
“Pickford is a very good goalkeeper, so is Nick Pope and Dean Henderson.
“But it is on my mind to try and achieve.I want to be in the thick of that and I want to be pushing them.”
Johnstone excelled again in last weekend’s win over Sheffield United as Slaven Bilic’s side registered their first victory.
Now he is looking to shut-out Crystal Palace on Sunday when they visit The Hawthorns.
Albion are near the foot of the Premier League but Johnstone is at the top in terms of keepers denying opponents Expected Goals.
“It’s nice to read and to be up there with the most of saves too,” added Johnstone.
“It’s the first season for me in the Premier League and you want to be doing well.
“It helps your confidence and hopefully I keep playing how I am.”
Johnstone has climbed to the top via loans at Scunthorpe, Walsall, Yeovil, Doncaster, Preston and Aston Villa.
He is relishing the Premier League after successive near misses in the play-offs with both Villa in 2018 and then the Baggies in 2019.
But his mum Julie and dad Glenn, an ex-keeper for Preston, have been unable to see him live yet due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Johnstone, who joined Albion from United in July 2018 for £6.5million, said: “It is so tough them.
“My family followed me to Scunthorpe and Walsall, to all these places in the freezing cold standing in the away end.
“Then I missed out in the play-offs a couple of times.
“You finally make it to the Premier League and no-one’s allowed in.
“I’m gutted for them because I want my family, my missus and my kid and friends to all be there and see me finally playing in the Premier League.
“I don’t think people realise the massive sacrifice the whole family makes to help one person grow up at a football club.
“I’m very appreciative and thankful for that.
“At least all the games have been on the TV so they can stay at home, have a beer and watch me that way.
“I’ll have to get them an executive box to watch from when fans return to make up for all those freezing away days.”