Lee Grant has claimed it is impossible to read where Bruno Fernandes will place his penalties from first-hand knowledge in training.
The Manchester United midfielder celebrates 12 months at United this week and his impact has been phenomenal.
Soon after his £47m arrival from Sporting Lisbon Fernandes assumed the role of penalty taker. And the 26-year-old has missed just once from the spot for United.
Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow kept him out from the penalty spot during the 4-1 win at St James’ Park in October. It means Fernandes has a conversion rate of 93% having netting 14 from 15 attempts.
And United third-choice keeper Grant says his steady run-up and side-footed strike is extremely hard to read.
“Usually, I’m already forming an opinion about where the penalty-taker is going to put the ball after the first or second step of their run-up,” Grant told The Athletic.
“I’m looking at their body shape, the angle they are coming in, and that’s when I make my decision. With Bruno, though, it’s almost impossible to read his body language.
“His penalty technique is really like no other. I’m never going to save a penalty if I stick to my usual routine.”
Grant says he and United’s under-23s keeper Nathan Bishop were recently trying to stop Fernandes and Mata in a penalty practice session, without much luck.
“I have to be honest: as much as I don’t really want to admit this to The Athletic, they had us on toast,” he added.
“I think I saved one penalty out of 25 from Bruno. Juan was dinking the ball down the middle, sticking it in the top corner.
“Bruno was rolling it in the corner with that smile on his face. I told him afterwards how difficult it was to read what he was going to do. It made him laugh.”
United knocked back
Meanwhile, Manchester United have had an enquiry about Sporting winger Pedro Goncalves knocked back this month, according to a report.
Previous speculation has indicated that the Red Devils have shown initial interest in the 22-year-old.
However, they did not suggest that a firm approach had arrived from the Old Trafford club.
Nevertheless, Sporting immediately turned it down, insisting that they want Goncalves to stay until at least the end of the season.