Tottenham Hotspur have made a habit of stockpiling first-team quality goalkeepers in recent seasons and new manager Tim Sherwood is looking to add a younger model to provide back up to first-choice Hugo Lloris.
With veteran Brad Friedel turning 43 this year and out-of-favour Brazilian Heurelho Gomes still looking to leave Sherwood needs somebody who could provide Lloris with serious competition.
1, His grandfather went to a World Cup with Wales
The 23-year-old’s grandfather was Ken Leek, a striker who played for Newcastle United, Leicester City and Birmingham City among others.
Leek was born in Ynysybwl in Wales and represented the country of his birth on 13 occasions, scoring five goals.
Prior to his debut he was a non-playing member of the Wales squad that travelled to the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, the only time that the Dragons have qualified for FIFA’s showpiece tournament.
2, But he has been tipped to represent England…
However, Darlow rejected an approach from the FAW to represent Wales in last February’s friendly fixture with Austria.
His stock is so high at the City Ground that Forest legend Kenny Burns this week tipped the ‘keeper to play for England one day.
The double European Cup winner said “he's certainly got all the attributes and if he ends up playing in the top flight one day that will do his cause no harm at all.”
3, One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s coaching staff recommended him
Darlow came through the youth system at Aston Villa but he was released at the age of 16.
He was then snapped up by Forest who were advised to take him on by former Villa goalkeeping coach Eric Steele, who would go on to spend five years under Ferguson at Manchester United.
Steele has also worked with Manchester City and is now working at Forest’s rivals Derby County.
4, He was playing in the Conference just two years ago
Prior to establishing himself as first choice for Forest last January, Darlow enjoyed two productive loan spells at Walsall.
But his first experience of regular senior football came in the Conference with Newport County.
Darlow spent a one-month loan period at the Welsh club in March 2012 and made eight appearances while there, keeping a clean sheet on his debut against Gateshead.
5, He has been ever-present and kept ten clean sheets this season
Darlow’s reputation has rocketed this season as Forest have been chasing promotion.
Currently fifth in the Championship, the Reds also have the fifth best defence in the division and Darlow’s ten clean sheets, including one against Premier League West Ham in the FA Cup, have been a major factor.
At the start of the season manager Billy Davies told Darlow he had earned the right to be No 1 and his performances have proven it, keeping experienced former Swansea and Wolves’ stopper Dorus de Vries on the bench so far.
If he carries on performing at such a high level, Forest will have a struggle on their hands to keep hold of him.
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