Loaned-out Manchester City goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has the world at his feet - or hands?
By Sam Stone
Portsmouth’s Manchester City loanee Gavin Bazunu is destined to make it to the very top of the game.
The 20-year-old, Irish international has been one of Pompey’s standout performers this season, with a mixture of impeccable distribution, outrageous saves and a mentality beyond his years endearing him to the Fratton faithful.
Pompey boss Danny Cowley has been full of praise for the former Shamrock Rovers youngster and has entrusted him with the number one spot for the duration of the season.
Cowley has previously nurtured young talent such as Arsenal’s Emile Smith-Rowe and Chelsea’s Trevor Chalobah whilst at Huddersfield Town and ranks Bazunu among those now Premier League regulars.
Cowley has been quoted by Hampshire Live today (8 April) as saying: “He’s a student of the game, he’s so bright for someone so young and I don’t know whether the world is at his feet or his hands.”
Bazunu’s shot-stopping has certainly earned him recognition this season, with a string of fine saves for club and country as well as saving a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.
🇮🇪 19-year-old Portsmouth keeper Gavin Bazunu (on loan from Man City) saves a penalty to stop Cristiano Ronaldo becoming the highest international goalscorer of all time! 👏
— The #EFL Zone (@TheFLZone) September 1, 2021
The 20-year-old’s distribution is what sets him apart in League One and likens him to his Manchester City counterpart Ederson.
No keeper in League One has completed more passes than Bazunu (811), despite him missing two matches and having played two fewer games than most of the division.
Bazunu’s kicking technique is flawless and allows him to pick out players operating high and wide, or in the pockets in between the midfield and defence.
It is hardly surprising that his distribution is one of his stronger attributes, it is a requisition at Manchester City that keepers can almost play as an outfield player at times.
A recent man of the match performance against Wycombe Wanderers was the latest of a string of fine performances for Pompey, and Cowley has not been shy to heap praise on Bazunu: “ I don’t usually speak about young ones because I don’t like them to get ahead of themselves, but he has got such an unbelievable mindset that it doesn’t matter that I speak well of him.” [Hampshire Live]
— Portsmouth FC (@Pompey) March 20, 2022
There is an acceptance from Cowley and most of the Fratton faithful that Bazunu is destined for bigger and better things next season, with a Championship or lower end Premier League Loan potentially in store for the Ireland international. “He is a top lad, I love him, I’m going to miss that kid, I am really going to miss him every single day,” said Cowley.
With the likes of Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale more recently plying their trade in the EFL before breaking onto the Premier League scene, Bazunu is a name that we could well be viewing in England’s top-flight sooner rather than later.
In other Manchester City news, the club wants to extend Phil Foden’s deal.