‘In his hands’ – Stoke City fans lavish praise on rookie thrown in at deep end



Joe Bursik may be Stoke City’s youngest goalkeeper in 20 years but he hasn’t looked like a rookie after being chucked in to the madness of the Championship.

The 20-year-old England youth keeper has been happy to order his experienced defenders around and command his penalty area in back-to-back clean sheets against Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers.

That’s just as well considering the injuries ripping through the goalkeeping department at the bet365.

Adam Davies (knee) and Angus Gunn (ankle) were laid low before emergency free agent arrival Niki Maenpaa was struck by a hand injury and under-23s keeper Nathan Broome damaged his shoulder.

Michael O’Neill said last night: “Very unlucky for Niki. He came in and hurt his hand in training. He’s undergone surgery so it couldn’t have been any worse for him. Our thoughts are with him and hope that he makes a speedy recovery.

“Andy Lonergan has come in to give us support which is good – and Joe Bursik will benefit from that support as well.

“I thought Joe Bursik was excellent tonight actually. He kicked well, dealt with everything and made a really good punch at the end under pressure.

“He’s played a lot of league games for a keeper of his age. He’s been at the club but not really been at the club, a bit like Harry Souttar, in that he’s gone out on loan all the time.

“We’re seeing the benefit of that when he’s come back now. It’s good to have a young goalkeeper who can come and play in the Championship.”

Stoke fans have also been impressed.

John Ward: A very good goal keeper in the making, it’s a pity that the great Gordon Banks isn’t around to help him.

Mark Barnsley: Great handling yesterday and I love a goalkeeper who is always ready to get of his line and come out of box if needs be.

Alan Davies: Looks like he’s going to be the regular number one through until Christmas at least. He seems to have got up to speed quickly and it’s obvious the defenders have confidence in him, given that they were happy to let him come and claim crosses repeatedly last night.

He may lack experience, but he has the speed and agility an older more experienced keeper may not have. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his levels up over the coming weeks – if he does, then we have a real prospect on our hands.

Craig Street: Thought he was excellent last night.

Martin Warrilow: Good kicking and very commanding in area. Getting confidence now after nervy start.

Scott Price: Ambitious is a good thing. Joe Bursik has a promising future ahead of him.

Andrew Cummings: Brilliant. Davies number one when he’s back and Joe number two – send Gunn back once everyone is back fit.

Steve Wallace: I hope he can give Davies a good run for his money. Good to have competition but I don’t think Michael O’Neill will make him number one when Davies is ready. It’s in his hands.





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