Martin Thomas, FA National Youth Goalkeeping Coach, worked with talented young stoppers from around the country at the invite only two-day residential camp. A series of practical sessions designed to measure their progress and development were conducted.
“Some people say it is about best versus best; some people see it as a trial, but we see it more as getting the goalkeepers together and working with them closely for two days,” explained Thomas, who also works with the goalkeepers in the England U21 set-up.
“For myself and Simon Smith (FA Assistant Youth Goalkeeping Coach), it is extremely useful for us to see them and see how they are progressing.”
The camp is focused on assessing and developing the young keepers’ core goalkeeping abilities, with the coaches delivering a series of exercises and drills designed to challenge their skill and technique.
“What we do with them is the same as what they will do at their clubs, but what is different on this camp is that it is purely goalkeeping.
"When they go on the general development camps with the outfield players the content is based more on the philosophy of them as goalkeepers within international football teams.
“Here, they will do some general handling, shot stopping, distribution and dealing with crosses.
“[On day two] they will work on speed reaction and again shot stopping practices but in a different format, and then in the afternoon we will do some small sided games.”
Another aim of the camp is to strengthen the social bonds between the goalkeepers so when they do go on international duty, they are comfortable travelling, working and playing together.
Thomas added: “Some of them have been coming for a couple of years now and they really enjoy it.
“The social aspect of meeting up with one another and getting together is important.
“It makes it easier for them when you take them on the road because they know each other and have worked with each other. There is a mutual respect.”
Eight goalkeepers were involved in the Goalkeeping Camp:
George Willis, Sheffield United
Cameron Dawson, Sheffield Wednesday
Luke Coddington, Middlesbrough
Alex Palmer, West Brom
Callum Burton, Shrewbury Town
Ryan Huddart, Arsenal
Ted Smith, Southend United
Freddie Woodman, Newcastle United
To see FA National Goalkeeper Coach, Martin Thomas, in action with England’s goalkeepers see the gallery above.