Former Arsenal academy goalkeeper Joao Virginia made his debut for the Everton senior side on Wednesday, keeping a clean sheet.
Joao Virginia made his Everton debut on Wednesday, starting at Goodison Park in the League Cup against Salford.
The home side totally dominated the match, taking 32 shots to Salford’s eight, so Virginia didn’t have a huge amount to do. But he still made one save and one high claim to keep a clean sheet.
He posted afterwards that he was “so happy” to make his debut, particularly with a clean sheet at Goodison.
Virginia’s move to Everton is an interesting one in hindsight. For a year and a half, he stalled, getting the same opportunities you’d expect at Arsenal. He played with the u23s, had an unsuccessful loan to Reading and didn’t make any senior appearances.
Then, it started to look like a smarter transfer as he earned more chances in the senior squad earlier this year. I argued in July that it looked like Carlo Ancelotti was preparing Virginia for the backup role behind Jordan Pickford, which is exactly how it’s panning out.
But ironically, just as Virginia makes his senior Everton debut, there’s no better time for him to be at Arsenal.
If the 20-year-old was still in North London, you’d bank on the club promoting him to Leno’s backup. With Emi Martinez gone and Matt Macey leaving, it would be the perfect time to step up.
There’s no way Virginia could have predicted this, of course. It’s just one of those things. Arsenal will look to sign Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson this week instead.