Walsall great Jimmy Walker excited to see Carl Rushworth up close

Walsall legend Jimmy Walker is excited to see current keeper Carl Rushworth up close, having been impressed by ‘all the clips’ of the Brighton loanee.

Carl Rushworth, right, has been impressive
Carl Rushworth, right, has been impressive

Saddlers great Walker returned to the Banks’s Stadium as they won 2-1 against Salford City last time out – taking to the pitch at half-time with his son, Ethan, and fellow club great Charlie Ntamark.

But with Rushworth having been away with the England Under-21s, ‘Wacka’ is yet to see the 20-year-old in the flesh.

Rushworth has been given rave reviews for his displays between the sticks for Walsall so far.

And it is fair to say that Walker, who made 534 appearances for the club and won three promotions, cannot wait to run the rule over him.

“He’s been great from what I’ve seen,” said Walker.

“I’ve not had the chance to watch him closely yet, though.

“Everyone’s been on about how good he is, and all the clips I’ve seen have impressed me.

“He’s made some cracking saves and looks a really good goalie, so I’m looking forward to seeing him.

“The only downside is he’s not Walsall’s player.

“I thought Jack Rose might have got the nod this season, with Liam Roberts going and getting a fresh start which he probably needed.

“But take nothing away from Carl. Since he’s been in, he’s been outstanding.

“For any young player, it’s key to go on loan and get games – 20 to 30 games.

“It’d be nice to keep him for the season now as with regular games, that’s where you see the best of goalkeepers.”

Jimmy Walker in his playing days

Another former goalkeeper and Walsall great in Mick Kearns said while on the pitch at half-time for the Bristol Rovers game last month that he felt Rushworth was their best shot-stopper since Neil Etheridge.

Jack Rose, though, ably filled in while Rushworth was away with England and will be determined to keep his place for Saturday’s trip to Leyton Orient.

Walker, meanwhile, has been encouraged by the Saddlers as a whole.

Matt Taylor’s lot have struggled for consistency, but the win against Salford built on a draw at Exeter and moved them up to 19th in the table.

The next hurdle they will hope to overcome is grabbing a first away victory of the campaign at Kenny Jackett’s Orient.

Walker added: “I played against Matt a few times, and he was an outstanding player.

“He’s just starting his coaching journey and he’s going to learn a lot from every game.

“There have been some highlights and good performances, and some indifferent performances as well.

“It’s a new group – 13 new players in – so everyone is still finding their feet.

“Hopefully, they can climb the table. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”

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