A short review of the goalkeeping world this past week…
November 13th - November 17th 2023
A professional debut for 15 Year Old Max Woodford
Stevenage defeated a Crystal Palace U21 side 5-2 in the newly rebranded Bristol Street Motors (EFL) Trophy on Wednesday night. For academy goalkeeper Max Woodford, it marked his professional debut, and the youngest ever appearance for a Stevenage player at only 15 Years, nine months, and six days old.
The schoolboy played the final seven minutes of the win, and manager Steve Evans later revealed that he'd been in contention to start the match.
Woodford said on Wednesday that he'll now return to sit his mock GCSE exams as his parents have told him ‘education comes first’. He continued: 'It was such a great experience they don't mind it, they're buzzing for me'.
Woodford has been playing with the club for about two years as an academy player, though has only been training with the first team for the last fortnight.
Evans, who has thus far guided Stevenage to fifth in the League One table this season, explained that "I saw him three or four months ago at the academy and just thought to myself he was another boy that's capable of playing at a really good level. He has all the attributes.
'I think he got roughly 10 minutes and he comes on and punches one and his kicking is good so that’s a really pleasing aspect [of the game].
'He was almost in contention to start," the Stevenage boss further revealed.
'We were in conversation at training [Monday] afternoon and with Hegyi away on international duty, it was either going to be young Woody or Taye [Ashby-Hammond].
"We went with Taye but we said that if the opportunity arises, we'll give a young man his debut.
"And he’s come on and done really well. He's a real asset for this football club."
Woodford said: "Dreams are coming true, that's all I can say."
Petr Cech makes a big-time move in the hockey world
They say that a multi-sport approach to goalkeeping can be beneficial for positional development. Many of the goalkeepers who hail from the United States or Australia, for example, have been particularly proficient in a variety of hand-based sports.
But one sport that doesn't quickly come to mind in relation to goalkeeping is ice hockey.
That's now the forte of ex-Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who, since retiring from football in 2019, has played for three different ice hockey teams.
Beginning at Guildford Phoenix before subsequent spells at Chelmsford Chieftains and then Oxford City stars, Cech has now joined top-tier side Belfast Giants on loan as backup netminder (an ice hockey goalkeeper).
With current Giants' number two Jackson Whistle injured, Cech has joined the Northern Irish side to sure up the netminding department.
Despite his great footballing stature, not all of his new team-mates know who he is.
'I think we have a couple of younger guys that probably didn't know exactly who he was when we told he was coming in here, but I'm sure they went home last night and searched him up a little bit and to figure out who he was,' said Giants number one Tyler Beskorowany, who Cech will back-up this weekend.
'It's always exciting to see an athlete play two sports, especially at the professional level.
'For him to be able to do this, I think it just shows the passion that he has for the sport, the passion that he has for the position. It's quite the breath of fresh air to have that new face in the room and someone that the guys can just kind of talk to and tell stories or whatever it is.
'He's used to this type of format where winning every game matters so any type of knowledge that we can get from that, we'll take it and it can only help us.'
Earlier this year, Cech played in a charity match for the Giants. His appearance at the SSE Arena in April was against Ukrainian side Dnipro Kherson to raise over £65,000 for the continuation of ice hockey in the war-afflicted country.
Aaron Ramsdale's dad speaks out about Arsenal goalkeeper's position
It's been a difficult few months for Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale, whose footballing world was turned upside down by the arrival of David Raya at the Emirates during the summer transfer window.
Since, the Spaniard has displaced the Englishman as the club's number one (in league matches at least), relegating Ramsdale to the bench through no real fault of his own.
In recent weeks, Arteta has admitted that he's considered substituting Ramsdale during games at points in past seasons. It was a rather shocking omission that probably didn't do wonders for Ramsdale's confidence, especially after he admitted in an interview with The Guardian in October that he was ‘suffering and hurting’ at losing his place.
Now, Ramsdale's father has gone on record - for the second time - in defence of his son.
In an interview with the Highbury Squad podcast, Ramsdale Sr. said: 'We did not have a clue [Ramsdale was going to be dropped]. I didn't have a clue, our family didn't have a clue, Aaron didn't have a clue that he was not going to carry on playing. All of a sudden, he's not been played.
'You just have to look at it personally and I'm probably saying too much but: Aaron is going to be the cup goalkeeper, and David Raya is going to be the main man unless something happens, an injury or a sending-off. And Aaron's got to live with that and he is living with that even though he's not been told it. By anybody.
'Squads evolve all the time, nobody is going to be there forever. David Raya has not pulled up trees so far, let's say he's not going to. Even though the way it's been done, in my eyes, it's been wrong.'
The best pieces of goalkeeper content this week
From Goalkeeper.com: Determinism? Luck? A big break? Goalkeepers work hard to get to the top, but when only one can play, things also have to fall your way…So, what role does luck play in the development of goalkeepers? Read the article here.
From around the web: Manchester United's Tom Heaton explains the influence Peter Schmeichel had on goalkeeping, and a Corinthians goalkeeper's genius (or, rather, intimate knowledge of the rulebook) goes viral.