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Steering towards the future – Aston Villa sign young keeper

Paul Lambert has raided his former stomping grounds at Carrow Road, signing 20-year old goalkeeper Jed Steer from Norwich City when his contract ends on July 1.

Steer will become the sixth signing of the window so far, providing competition from number 1 keeper Brad Guzan and highly-rated Swiss youngster Benjamin Seigrist. Without having made a senior appearance for the Canaries, the move fits with Lambert’s philosophy of young and hungry while further sweeping veteran keeper Shay Given towards the exit.

As a young player with everything to prove, Villa have yet another enigma on their hands who was brought in with the future in mind. But with Andy Marshall having been released and Given as good as gone, Guzan will soon be the sole senior goalkeeper at the club.

That leaves two young keepers yet to make a senior Premier League debut as backup. Some may cringe at the idea, but the policy we’ve all become familiar with during Lambert’s reign may be seeping into the goalkeeping department. Barring we sign another keeper of relative experience for the number 2 position, the growth and development of Steer and Seigrist may take course with a starting place not too far away should they impress.

Lambert spoke of the transfer to the club's website: "You want competition for places throughout the team, which is something we didn't have last season.

Lambert also added, "Bringing in Jed will also add to the goalkeeping department and helps with everyone pushing one another, learning from one another and making everyone better and wanting to improve."

As far as the goalkeeping department was concerned, last season we were adequately stocked with Given ready if called upon. But a career reaching its twilight on high wages just didn’t bode well with Lambert and now it looks as if he may have it the way he wants it; a senior keeper still with many years ahead of him leading the way for his understudies, young and hungry to learn from him and provide some healthy competition for one another.

I personally hope we don’t sign another keeper, so a starting position seems all the more realistic for our youngsters should Guzan not be available. There would be much more incentive for them to push themselves harder in training and while playing in the reserves instead of withering away into obscurity as a 3rd or even 4th choice goalkeeper.

Some players don’t have the resolve to keep going, ultimately stunting their growth as they become comfortable with their fate of being a reserve team player. And I don’t see Lambert wanting that, if he can help it.

It is assumed Lambert knows what he is getting with Steer, having worked with him during his days in charge of the Canaries. With only a handful of appearances on loan at Yeovil Town and Cambridge United under his belt, Steer will be itching to prove to his manager this time around that he can develop into the type player that Lambert sees as taking the Villa to the next level.

What do you think of Villa’s new signing? Should we sign another backup keeper with experience or call upon our youngsters if needed?

image: © ell brown

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