Sergio Romero has spent the majority of his Manchester United career living in the shadow of David de Gea, but has thanked Jose Mourinho for allowing him to take centre stage in next week’s Europa League final.
Since joining United from Sampdoria in the summer of 2015, Romero has made just six Premier League appearances, but the Argentine goalkeeper knows he will start against Ajax on Wednesday.
Romero says his rapid rise is all down to Mourinho, saying: “I arrived here on a free transfer, nobody knew me. Now Jose gave me a lot of confidence and the players give me a lot of confidence. For me it’s very important.
“I try to do my best for the team. The most important thing is the group and the fans and we go there in Stockholm for the win.
“Winning the Europa League would be very special.”
Romero warmed up for what is effectively a Champions League play-off for United with a stunning penalty save to deny Manolo Gabbiadini in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at Southampton.
The former World Cup finalist revealed he knew where Gabbiadini was going to place the ball from their days as teammates at Sampdoria.
He said: “I played one year with Gabbiadini in Sampdoria in Italy. I did a lot of training with him, maybe I have a decision in my head when he takes the ball and I say he’s shooting to the right for sure and I go there.
“The clean sheet was important for me and for the group. It was important for our confidence.”
Romero will be rested when United take on Crystal Palace in their final Premier League game of the season at Old Trafford on Sunday, with Portuguese youngster Joel Pereira set for his debut.
Manager Mourinho insists David de Gea has accepted his decision to start Romero in Stockholm ahead of the Spaniard.
He said: “I never saw two goalkeepers who are such close friends. Normally they are not best friends, they are rivals. They are amazing with each other. Everything is smooth and everyone accepts my decision.”