Neil Cutler: Neil Etheridge can make it to the top at Walsall

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First team coach Neil Cutler believes Walsall's Neil Etheridge has the potential to be a Premier League goalkeeper.

Cutler, who is also goalkeeper coach at the Banks's Stadium, has helped mastermind the 26-year-old's rapid rise over the past 18 months.

Etheridge, who came through the youth ranks at Chelsea, was snapped up on a free transfer last summer after being released by Charlton.

Since then, the Philippines international has made the Saddlers number one jersey his own and has quickly become one of the best keepers in League One thanks to his dynamic and front-footed displays.

"Neil is doing very, very well," Cutler said.

"He is a perfectionist, works very hard in training and is learning all the time. You have to remember that before he came here, he hadn't played that many first team games.

"But with a bit more experience he can go as high as he wants because he makes match-winning saves.

"They are the goalkeepers that play at the really high levels.

"They make big saves at big times and he has done that for us. He has been fantastic."


As well as his shot-stopping abilities, Etheridge has also impressed with his handling when dealing with crosses.

And while he made an error in the 3-2 victory over Shrewsbury, Cutler believes his performance at Gillingham – which included a spectacular stop to deny Bradley Dack – shows his strength of character.

"The mistake he made against Shrewsbury did affect him a little bit because he likes everything to be perfect," the coach continued.

"He is not used to making mistakes but all goalkeepers make them – even the best in the world.


"It's all about what you do next and he has pulled off a world class save against Gillingham.

"He has come back and shown what he is capable of.

"He didn't fold, he stepped forward again.

"He will eventually miss a cross because he comes for more crosses than any other keeper in this league and probably the league above.

"He's missed one this season, just one, but he has learned from it, psychologically. He knows he has to keep coming for those balls."


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