Saturday, May 25, 2024

The life of a young goalkeeper

Being a goalkeeper can be very difficult, but especially so if you are a young player. Whereas rookie outfielders are often given run-outs as substitutes, the same can’t be said for goalkeepers, other than in the event of an injury or a suspension for the first-choice shot-stopper.

For young goalkeepers attempting to make inroads into the first-team, particularly at a club as big as Arsenal, things can be very challenging. With Wojciech Szczesny and Emiliano Martinez (two players who have many years ahead of them in their respective careers) part of the first-team squad, David Ospina currently installed as first choice and stories of a move for Petr Cech continuing to gather pace, the club’s contingent of young goalkeepers could be forgiven for being a little worried about their future prospects.

Following the departure of Josh Vickers, it appears that, at the start of the season at least, there will be three goalkeepers competing for game time in the Under 21s- Matt Macey, Deyan Iliev and Ryan Huddart.

It is a pivotal year for Macey (pictured) as from the 2016/17 season he will be classed as a senior player, meaning he would have to be named in the club’s Premier League squad if he was retained. A goalkeeper with good reflexes who was signed from Bristol Rovers two years ago, Macey has frequently impressed for Arsenal’s second-string, but he struggled during a loan spell at Accrington Stanley last season and will be hopeful of enjoying a more fruitful temporary transfer at some point next season.

Iliev, a Macedonian goalkeeper who has been with the club for nearly three years, was surprisingly rewarded with a new contract last season despite missing much of the campaign due to injury. He is also a very good shot-stopper, but can often be rash in his decision making and remains somewhat error prone, leading some to wonder just why he was kept ahead of Vickers.

Huddart, meanwhile, has already been called up to the first-team squad on two occasions and also made tentative inroads into the Under 21 set-up last season. A good commander of his penalty area, he will seek to build up more experience of second-string football next season.

Beyond that trio there are some more promising goalkeepers. Finland youth international Hugo Keto impressed during a challenging season for the U18s, whilst schoolboys George Phillips and Jordan Perrin are both highly regarded.

It will, though, be very difficult for any of them to make a sustained breakthrough at the club given the current regime. They will all be aware, however, that things can change very quickly in football and that circumstances may dictate that they will be afforded an opportunity somewhere down the line.

Ultimately, the most important thing for the club is to be successful and to win trophies. To do that, you clearly need to have an established goalkeeper who has some experience of senior football under his belt. Cech has that in abundance and would be an excellent signing.

The knock-on effect from that may well see some of the aforementioned young goalkeepers leave the club earlier than expected.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird






Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Tough, given keepers are at there best from 25 onwards, even competing up to 40.

If you are 20 then lots of waiting and maturing to do.


Hope the talk of chec is a smokescreen for Wenger who is currently signing another player without the agro of media interference!!!

Mark Hughes

I hope talk of Cech isn’t a smokescreen and Arsene is also signing other players. People seem to really have a problem with signing a proven trophy winner, something we are doing more of and unsurprisingly winning trophies.

Cech was usurped at Chelsea as they had to play Courtois or face losing him due to his first team activity at A.Madrid.

Stringer Bell

So as young as he is he will have to be got rid of season after next if he isn’t named in squad. Which he will not be as he is to young and as a keeper needs more time (unless of course he is exceptional at this age which is highly unlikely) another great idea from them cunts at the FA. Let’s also make every club have more English players. Lower the standard so more average players make the grade. These are the same cunts who employed Steve fuck wit Mclaren 6 months after the whole Middlesborough ground were… Read more »


Pffft! Martinez – yes! I would feel bad for him because up until now, he has not been given a proper run in the side to judge his worth. As fo szcz – well, he had his chance and puffed it away after mortgaging it for two cheap goals in January. I don’t feel sad for him really, he is cocky and brought this upon himself. If he had been professional and exceptional as most people think, we would not be looking for another keeper. It is because of his sillness that we are actually in this mess and if… Read more »


I don’t have problem with acquiring Cech or whoever,but what will happen to Sczesny and Ospina? Who will be second and third keeper? What will happen to Martinez? It will pain me if Sces and Martinez go away. You guys can see the job of a manager now.
It is a happy headache to have good options like this!

Anonymous Physicist

I would expect one of these three goalkeepers to be on the bench next season whenever one of the first two is injured. I cannot imagine Martinez is going to spend another year as third choice, as that would be of no use to anyone, so I’d expect him to be loaned. And if we buy a goalkeeper, we’ll surely either sell Ospina or sell/loan Szczesny as well.

So while the path of these young goalkeepers to a true squad position may be long, they could well be on the bench at the Emirates before they know it.


Pfffttt! szcz can play for the spuds for all I care. If we are talking about martinez, I understand because he has not been given as much a chance as szcz and osp. If szcz had grabbed his chance by both hands, we would be in this situations. The guy was given the run in the side by Wenger and trusted to shepherd the goal posts, only to puff it away by allowing in two tame goals in January. His cockiness has cost him his place and he can go, to be replaced by cech for all I care. OSP… Read more »

David Hillllllier

I think the young goalkeeper situation highlights the shortcomings in the 25 man Premier League squad system. Surely and having an unlimited number of academy grown (as opposed to home grown) players in addition to the u-21 named players in your squad would greatly help young pros – keepers in particular?

Arsenal's Legend

I don’t think our problem is the goal keeping department because if you look at Barca they have Valdez and pinto which are not world class as at then and yet they went ahead and win treble. So in our case now we have Ospina and scez which IMO are very decent keepers so why not get a prolific striker who can help us unlock defence when they park their buses. Who will remember to blame the keeper when we are winning 4:1. Ospina is doing his work quite alright and scez in the FA still proves he is still… Read more »

Gus Caesar

I think the thing people often underestimate about keepers is that they have more of an influence than just what you can see from the sidelines. A good keeper who communicates well and has sound judgment can have an immensely calming effect on the defence in front of him. If the centre-back knows where the keeper will be and when then it will help his own judgment calls. Personally I think the issue with Szczesny is that he’s not a great communicator and the likes of Koscielny don’t always appear comfortable with him. I think Szczesny has been a bit… Read more »



Just like that carling cup final against Birmingham. I honestly do not get it why people get so wet for szcz. At any other club, he would have been cut loose.

Gus Caesar

It is harder for a young keeper but there are also a couple of advantages that outfield players don’t really have: 1. their careers can last much longer and 2. they can actually go on loan to places like Canvey Island and develop because the job they have to do is still broadly the same as if they were doing it at a Championship club. And it’s the much smaller clubs that would be willing to risk giving game-time to a young stopper learning his trade. Personally i’d like to see more of what Vickers did – why couldn’t Huddart… Read more »


I’ve always considered the phrase “great shotstopper” one of football’s classic euphemisms.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x