Ashley Maynard-Brewer made his Charlton senior debut aged just 19 during Tuesday evening’s EFL Trophy game with Swansea u21s – but how does a youngster who grew up in Western Australia find himself turning out for a South London outfit?
The goalkeeper was actually born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, but his family moved down under to Perth when he was just one-year-old. As he embarked on his playing career, his path crossed with a compatriot who had represented the Addicks back in the 1990s. The wheels were in motion for a life-changing move back to the UK.
“I was with a semi-professional club in Perth, Western Australia,” he explained.
“The goalkeeper coach there at the time was Andy Petterson. He played almost one hundred games here, a fair few in the Premier League. He contacted Phil Chapple, the old head scout. He brought me in for a week when I was fourteen. I had a good week’s trial with Ben Roberts and he set up something so when I turned sixteen I signed as a scholar. I’ve been here now for three-and-a-half years.
“I was originally English, I left when I was one-year-old as a little baby. I’ve got some family over here in St. Albans so I’m not entirely alone. [My family] come over and visit twice a year. It’s a bit difficult but it’s good being at Charlton.”
The inexperienced stopper has been training with the first-team goalkeepers Jed Steer and Dillon Phillips this season. He was given his chance to impress by Addicks boss Lee Bowyer during the 1-0 home loss against the Swans on Tuesday evening.
“It’s good that Bow put trust in me,” explained Maynard-Brewer.
“I know as a goalkeeper, I’ve got to bide my time. Whilst I’m biding my time I have to keep learning and taking on board what the manager says. But it’s a great feeling to make my competitive debut.
“In pre-season I wasn’t my best but now whilst training with them and seeing the standard of the first-team players, I’ve taken that on-board. I know the level and the intensity that I’ve got to be at and I’ll keep working towards it.
“It’s definitely a step-up from the u23s. It’s a lot more intense. It’s a step in the right direction for me as a goalkeeper. I know I have to bide my time but to have this opportunity was really good.”
Maynard-Brewer now has a taste for senior football and hopes he will be able to sample it again by clinching a loan-deal this campaign.
“Hopefully as high as possible,” he said.
“Conference South or Conference – but getting men’s football can only benefit me as a goalkeeper.
“I spoke to [Phillips] about it a year and a half ago. He said as a second-year pro, my age, he played lots of Conference South games and that put him in good stead to go on and play in the Conference. Having the season he had [on-loan at Cheltenham] massively helped him in League One. Hopefully I can replicate that and get some men’s games.”