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Interviews

PAUL CLEMENTS DELIGHTED WITH HIS GOALKEEPING GROUP

20 March 2020

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Paul Clements discusses Huddersfield Town’s four First Team goalkeepers

- Paul Clements pleased with the development of Town’s goalkeepers
- Head of Goalkeeping discusses Kamil Grabara and Jonas Lössl
- Listen to the full interview below on #HTTV

With football currently postponed, we caught up with Huddersfield Town’s Head of Goalkeeping Paul Clements to discuss how he thinks Town’s goalkeepers have fared in the Sky Bet Championship so far this season.

At the start of the 2019/20 season the Terriers signed Kamil Grabara on a season-long loan from Liverpool FC. ‘Clem’ admits it wasn’t the easiest of circumstances for the young ‘keeper to come into but was pleased with how he performed.

“Kamil came in under difficult circumstances and people forget how young he is – he was 20 when he started playing for our Club.

“It’s not easy in those circumstance, coming into a dressing room with relegation hanging over a few people and people hurt from the season before.

“I think in the early part of the season, I think in every game he kept us in it, he made an unbelievable save just before half-time at Derby for example. We just couldn’t get on the right side of the results for him and we had a really bad period for the Club at the start of the season.

“In light of that I think he did okay and he’s out the team at the minute after his injury, but for me he’s done unbelievably.

“Towards Christmas time he was getting tired and I know people speak about tiredness in football, but I think as a 20-year-old lad he’d played 51 games in a calendar year, and that’s a lot of football and a lot of pressure and that’s senior games for his country, for us, for his previous loan Club.

“I’ve been more than happy with his performances. Of course, he’s a young keeper and there’s been a couple of mistakes in there.

“I look at the league as a whole and there’s some big names that have all made mistakes and Kamil’s made a few, but he hasn’t made as many as maybe we thought he would have, so fair play to him.”

Another of Town’s young ‘keepers is Ryan Schofield, who’s currently on loan at Livingston. Clem discusses how Ryan’s pathway this season hasn’t been what he’d hoped for, but that it’s been beneficial to him all the same.

“Ideally, he would have been out on loan for the whole season getting loads of games, but the decision was made that he would be the number 2 goalkeeper.

“You make that decision and then you sit him down and explain that it’s going to be hard because he’s not going to get consistent games and get the swing of things.

“In the Carabao Cup game (when he made his debut), I think you forget how much that must have meant to him – he’s a Huddersfield Town fan born and bred, a season ticket holder, and he walks out in front of the fans and no matter how many experiences we’ve given him, how many training sessions he’s had, nothing can prepare or test you for that.

“Ultimately he came through the test at Lincoln fine, again we didn’t get on the right side of the game, but he made three or four excellent saves, a few little mistakes on his left foot in the early stages of the game, which you’ll give a young keeper.

“In my opinion he was Man of the Match and that gave him confidence and that gave the fans confidence, so that when he did step in at Middlesbrough, he was ready.

“To go out and keep a clean sheet and make an unbelievable save against Fletcher – it’s a shame that he hasn’t had more game time for us, but that’s the role of the goalkeeper, only one of them can play.

“That night was a proud night for me, it really was. I met Ryan when he was 14/15, a skinny little boy at the Academy who couldn’t kick with his left foot, and because my role’s evolved with him, he’s pretty much been there every step of the way. I was very proud, and he held his own.”

Joel Coleman has also been called upon by Town this season. Clem was quick to praise his positivity through the negative side of life as a ‘keeper.

“I have to commend Joel.

“He played in the promotion season, he played in the Semi-Final that season, and he has never let this Club down once.

“The Club get promoted to the Premier League and that’s probably too much of a challenge for him at the time, so he stands in as number 2 for a season for us and didn’t play.

“He’s been waiting and fighting hard for his chance and he probably sensed that Kamil being injured would be his chance.

“We had to sit him down and explain that we needed to protect ourselves in case he got injured and then we just had Academy goalkeepers to call on.

“I felt for Joel, I really felt for Joel, but that’s the life of a goalkeeper.”

With Kamil’s injury against Hull City in January 2020, Town had to make the decision to bring in a goalkeeper in the January transfer window. Fans were delighted when it was revealed that Jonas Lössl was coming back for the remainder of the season, and Clem spoke about how it’s helped the younger ‘keepers in training.

“He came back because he wanted to play in the Euros, and obviously now that’s been taken away from him, but it was also because of his love for the Club.

“I had a conversation with him this week and obviously he’s a bit down about that, but to be able to get someone of Jonas’ ability and that you know inside out anyway because you’ve worked with him for two years.

“It’s been great and having a senior goalkeeper in the group has really helped.

“He’s fitted straight in and it’s been really good for Kamil as well because training is unbelievable, well, it was until we had to stop, but having Jonas back has really cranked up the competition.

“I know how much he means to the fans and the reception he got was unbelievable, that just shows you what he’s done for the Club both on and off the pitch.”

Clem was also keen to discuss how the dynamic has changed in training since Jonas came back into the side.

“It’s a goalkeeping coaches dream to have three or four going at it every day!

“I think the dynamics of the group have been really good because Jonas is very open to learning, he respects that the work that we did with him over the past two years has really improved him, so he’s very receptive, but he’s like having a second coach.

“He’ll speak to the younger ‘keepers and they’ll bounce ideas and sometimes I’ll just facilitate the conversations between them.

“The tempo’s gone up, not that it was down before, but it’s just gone up a level that I’ve noticed and it’s great.

“There’s competition in the First Team, there’s competition in the Academy, and it’s just what I’ve been trying to build for the last couple of years.

“It’s really enjoyable working with them and I just can’t wait to get back to work!”

You can listen to the full interview with Paul Clements below on #HTTV!


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