Manchester City - A Safe Pair of Hands
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A Safe Pair of Hands

A safe pair of hands

With rumours circulating that Nicky Weaver might be on his way back over the Pennines to Sheffield Wednesday for a lengthy loan spell, it will no doubt stir up some debate about City’s own goalkeeping situation, notably finding a long term successor to David James.

It was great to see Nicky recover from a series of bad injuries, but after four years of treatment and recovery, I think there’s always going to be questions about whether he’ll be able to once again scale the heights he reached when he was just a kid, typified by the playoff penalty saves against Gillingham, and whether his body can take the punishment of a full premiership season. Incredibly, he’s still only 26, so time is still on his side, but he does need to prove to Psycho and himself that he can stay fit and put in the performances, so perhaps another spell at Hillsborough is a good place to start.

If Nicky does go, it will make City’s goalkeeping cover look rather lightweight. With respect to De Vlieger, he’s not really a first choice Premiership keeper and that really just leaves young Schmeichel. Kasper’s pedigree is undeniable, but it’s tough for the lad to follow in the footsteps of his legendary father with all the endless comparisons there’s likely to be.

Kasper’s recent performances in the reserves and on loan have been attracting a lot of praise and he’s certainly got talent, but one potential problem may be that standing at just around six feet, he’s not really in the mould of today’s big, tall keepers. I keep being told that size isn’t everything, but when it comes to top-class modern goalkeepers, I’m sorry size is important – just look at the current Premier League – there aren’t many exceptions.

Like some of City’s other talented youngsters, he’s not had a chance to prove himself at the top level yet and as a developing keeper, he’s probably still some way off the first team. This could be a big problem for City if James gets injured or hits a patch of bad form and I think City should be thinking about signing another top class keeper to make sure we’ve got some real strength in depth in that department. I was a bit surprised that a keeper didn’t seem to figure in the recent transfer window as there are some quality keepers around who could be available.

So come on then, are we ok for keepers or not, and who do you think should succeed David James once he decides to hang up his gloves?

M.Shaw 8th Feb 2006

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The journalist

Writer: Andy Leggott Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 9 2006

Time: 2:39PM


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