While competing with David De Gea for a starting berth has traditionally been a thankless task at Old Trafford, the professionalism and consistency of Sergio Romero has earned him plentiful first-team openings at United.
Romero joined United as a free agent in the summer of 2015 and enjoyed an impressive maiden campaign, keeping six clean sheets in 10 appearances. Though he was largely used as back-up to De Gea, Romero proved his worth when called upon by former boss Louis van Gaal, who previously managed Romero at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.
Van Gaal was the man who brought the largely unproven 20-year-old to Europe from Racing Club in Argentina and made him his first-choice goalkeeper at AZ, with whom he won the Eredivisie title in 2009.
Romero left the Netherlands after van Gaal departed for Bayern Munich, accepting a fresh challenge with Sampdoria in Italy’s Serie B and helping them gain promotion. He also spent a season on loan at Monaco in 2013/14.
At international level, Romero played in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and helped Argentina reach the final of the latter edition when he returned to haunt van Gaal by starring in his country’s penalty shoot-out win over the Netherlands in the semi-final.
The goalkeeper came under the spotlight during a Europa League clash against Midtjylland, making a string of stunning saves after stepping in for the injured De Gea just before kick-off.
The Argentina international then posted a startling run of form between the sticks during 2016/17 – his second season as a Red – letting in just six goals in 18 games. The majority of his involvement came in continental competition, however.
Sergio’s fine form saw him rewarded with a starting spot in the Europa League final against Ajax, where it was no surprise to see him claim a 12th clean sheet of the campaign in a historic 2-0 win that helped the club seize the final major trophy to have evaded our grasp.
He continued these impressive showings into the 2017/18 campaign, where he stopped the opposition scoring in seven of his 10 appearances and only injury prevented him from playing in the FA Cup final and semi-final.
In 2018/19, he was restricted to cup appearances, featuring in six matches across the League Cup, the Champions League and the FA Cup. His opening bow came in the first competition, where his season started on a disappointing note when he was sent off against Derby County, but he delivered superbly in the FA Cup.
Against Reading in the third round he was voted Man of the Match, and he was equally exemplary in the wins at Arsenal and Chelsea that followed. Unfortunately, he could not prevent a 2-1 defeat to Wolves in the quarter-finals and his season would end prematurely due to a knee problem, but he finished the campaign having further endeared himself to the United faithful and new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.