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Crystal Palace academy coach Phillips runs eye over top keeper prospects

Crystal Palace academy goalkeeper coach Gary Phillips is convinced by the talent he's currently working with.

Having joined the club nine years ago, Phillips has come close to developing a rare goalkeeping protege on occasion himself, but feels today's crop has a better chance than any to make history.

“It's a massive patience game," he told the Palace website. “You've got to realise the options are slimmer than an outfield player - you can adapt as an outfield player, you might be a midfielder but you can play two or three positions. As a goalkeeper, you're playing for one position so you have to be very patient, very resilient, mentally strong.

“We've got Owen Goodman and Joe Whitworth; completely different physical characters. Two terrific goalkeepers - we've been very lucky. Joe has played for England on a number of occasions and they've also been very interested in Owen [who has earned a national call-up since this interview was conducted].

“Now, like any football club, I want to improve all the time and get the best we possibly can… But the Under-18s, we're very, very lucky.

“Ollie Webber was on standby for the Northern Ireland Under-21s and I'm hoping he gets some recognition [Webber also earned an international call-up shortly afterwards].

“Jacob [Russell] has gone on loan to Ramsgate, so it's great for him to have men's football. Rohan [Luthra] has gone out to Southpark as well, so they're getting men's football. Ollie did it recently at Greenwich Borough and the levels aren't great, I understand that, but it's a fantastic experience for a goalkeeper to go and play men's football at 18-years-of-age.

“It will stand us in good stead in future and the two younger boys coming through will hopefully start pushing for the U23s. That's the competition I want for them.

“It's a lovely situation to be in - since I've been here it's the best crop of goalkeepers we've had. Fingers crossed, long may that continue and we can push them on to eventually play football for Crystal Palace."

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Paul Vegas

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