BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Crystal Palace goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely makes sure his focus is on all the club’s shot-stoppers – not just the one currently in the team.
The 48-year-old recently passed 12 months in the job – Eagles chief Roy Hodgson headhunting him from Preston North End.
“I don’t know if it is a strength or a weakness, but none of the goalkeepers I have are mine,” said Kiely, who starred for Charlton Athletic in the Premier League. “Whereas at West Brom, I recruited Ben Foster and Boaz Myhill.
“I didn’t bring Wayne Hennessey in and I didn’t bring in Vicente Guaita, the football club had already done it in January. Julian Speroni has been here for a long time. It’s just me with a fresh pair of eyes working with them.
“I provide an environment where it is really positive and focused.
“Whatever your attributes as a goalkeeper, I want to provide the opportunity to play your best football.
“One of my strengths is they are all working well and like the environment. I need to present them in great nick and form.”
So how much more important now is a keeper’s distribution in the Premier League, compared to when Kiely played there for Charlton, Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion?
“It has changed, but I’m not saying it is a massive shift,” he said.
“I can remember chipping balls out to Chris Powell. It’s not a totally new thing. At the end of the day, you’ll be judged on the shots you keep out of the goal.
“I remember when I was at West Brom, we played Liverpool and beat them 1-0 up at Anfield. Pepe Reina was spraying balls and starting attacks – yet we had one shot on target, he didn’t dive, it went past his shoulder and went in. I was thinking that he caught the eye with his dazzling distribution – but the one shot on his goal, he didn’t even dive for.
“Ultimately you are a goalkeeper, you need to keep the ball out of your goal.
“There are different facets but goalkeepers of every generation have always had those clubs in the bag – a little clip to the full-back. Can you hit wider players? Have you got the driver to bang it 80 yards? But years ago the manager might only have wanted to see one of them.
“Nowadays maybe attitudes have changed in terms of the way the teams play and the way goalkeepers are distributing. It doesn’t mean those older generations didn’t have those abilities, we maybe just didn’t need to show it as much.”