UpTheSaddlers Forum

Liam Roberts - Good enough?


no but whitney bombed him out too early would have been a solid keeper for us.


Whitney had another plan. Mark Gillespie as number one, later Liam Roberts, his understudy. MacGillivray was seen as surplus to requirement. At this time it could be said it has some sense, so contract was mutually cancelled. He was third keeper, but he wanted to play. Really shocking it wasn’t good plan.



But the question is, who was/is better for Walsall. Roberts all day for me.


He’s got a ■■■■■ back four in front of him atm he’s a good keeper and he’s in bad form atm


Seen him 3 times this season, looked confident and marshalled his defense extremely well. Saying that, I think he had to make a total of about 4 saves in those 3 matches.

I’ve also seen O’Donnell a couple of times and he looked confident and strong even when Bradford were rubbish.

I think folks are correct. Roberts is a decent keeper at this level but has lost some confidence. In the perfect world we would now bring in the number 2 for a couple of games to take him out of the firing line. I’ve said it before, what decent keeper wants to come to Walsall for peanuts to sit on the bench for 80% of matches? Keates probably thinks a lot of Roberts, thought it wouldn’t be an issue and figured he could save some of the budget so he can get in the likes of Martin. Easy with hindsight but I agree with his initial thinking.


The first goal vs Luton went under him - he let in a similar goal vs Sunderland in the FA Cup. He does not look confident at the moment, especially on crosses, and that is affecting the defenders in front of him. If I were his goalkeeping coach, I would be spending a lot of time on defending corners in and around the 6-yard box. Having played in goal for over 40 years I do know a bit about being a keeper: a keeper needs to own the 6-yard box, and at the moment, Roberts isn’t doing that.


I’ve defended him throughout this thread but … the first Luton goal dribbles through his legs?

Unless you are talking about the away game which yeah he couldn’t do anything about.


Sometimes player needs to leave his comfort zone, to improve. Maybe it was the case with MacGillivray, I don’t know. But I think it wasn’t Whitney alone, who made this decision. Goalkeeping coach, Neil Cutler, had some influence on it too, probably. WFC is not so rich club, to have few keepers in the squad. Rent won’t make big difference.
Back to Roberts, he has some patchy period? Probably yes, but he is not source of problems for defence. Team generally have some problem with scoring (that’s not big issue, as long as team is not fighting for promotion) and defending (and this could be a problem, cause it’s close to relegation form). For me it’s simple. Lack of defensive midfielder (Adam Chambers is the only player, who has not been replaced) causing it. Now team has general midfielders, who think how to pass ball forward. Would be nice to have someone, who thinks and anticipate, when to pass backward or to one side. To slow down a game, to waste some time, to frustrate opponent, earn some free-kicks, and give some rest to other players. So, as long as such player is absent, team will struggle defensively. And even best keeper in the world would have some problems.


Goals do go under goalies occasionally you know but I agree with your more general points about his current lack of command of his area. Ideally he should be left out for a few games but our number 2 isn’t up to the task. I think he will come good again but he is clearly missing a coach like Cutler.


It doesn’t suit the narrative for some but I was led to understand the decision to get rid of macgillivray was based on cutler’s assessment and it was also his view that Gillespie was more of a prospect than Roberts.

You can’t knock him though because his assessments of O’Donnell and etheridge were spot on.


Gone quiet there Bernie :joy:


Re Dunn. Hes clearly not good enough. He cant step in when needed. We need him now.

Get rid


Gone quiet there Bernie

The points I have made in this thread, are either matters of opinion about the relative merits of Roberts compared with previous keepers, about which there is no point arguing further; or factual points which are indisputable.

Roberts is not a “young kid”. He is 24.

Roberts has not got “little or no experience”. He has made 75 first team matches.

Most football league goalkeepers reach the peak of their career between the ages of 24 and 28. That is certainly true for the majority of league one keepers, as and while there are exceptions to this rule,it would be a waste of my time to argue with someone who thinks that mentioning a couple of exceptions disproves my point. If someone does not understand the word “most” there is no point trying to engage them in an argument.


No. No it isn’t. 29 is when most peak as shown here. If that’s not good enough for you then fine, believe what you like. I’m telling you goalkeepers peak in their late 20s/early 30s. It’s literally a fact, not just an opinion.


Bit harsh, the deflection meant he had to quickly change his position all while landing perfectly for Collins to shoot. People were also blaming him for the first v Charlton, again think people’s standards are too high if they think that’s a major keeper error.


What is the source of that chart? Does it refer to goalkeepers at the level of football that we are talking about in this discussion?

I have given the figures for the age profile of current first choice league one goalkeepers. There is one who is 21 and one who is 23. There are seventeen who are aged 24-28 and one aged 29, one 30, two 31 and one 32. There is no first choice keeper in this division who is over 32.

It is possible that keepers than those in league one have a different age profile, but a discussion in the “All About Walsall” thread can be assumed to be about keepers in the football league, and in particular in league one. No doubt if you go to the Sunday leagues you will find a different age profile, and this could also be true in the highest level of football, but is not really relevant to a discussion about Walsall goalkeepers.


Maybe Dunn does deserve a game or two, kept a clean sheet for Cambridge against Man. United in the cup in 14/15 although just strikes me as a cheapo number 2 back up tbh.


I would use him to be honest, i haven’t seen him play, but if we have signed him as a professional goalkeeper then i think it is about time he started. you never know, he could well prove a few doubters wrong?


I remember, Walsall - Macclesfield in the EFL Cup. Score 3-3 and later penalties. Is he answer for defensive problems? Don’t think so, but maybe I’m mistaken.


The professional level? Yes.

Which as I said before are completely irrelevant. For a start whose to say those keepers won’t be in League one or the Championship in 5 -10 years time. And wasn’t one of your points that keepers drop down the leagues at 28? :thinking: If that were true wouldn’t our division be chock full of ex Premier League and Championship keepers?

it’s completely relevant though. Because your argument is that keepers peak at 28 and then fall down the leagues. If that was the case the very best keepers in the country would all be 24-28 and they would all be playing in the Premier League. But that’s not what has happened.

Ben Foster, 35, signed for Watford this season and is in the top half of the league.
Rui Patricio is 30 and moved to the premier league. He’s in the top half.
David De Gea is 28. He will probably be at United for another 5 years ABSOLUTE MINIMUM.
Liverpool and Arsenal both spent big money on 26 year old keepers this season. I doubt they aren’t expecting them to develop at all.
Kasper Schmeical - a player that all through his mid twenty’s played at a lower level of football and then was instrumental in winning the PL at 30 and remains a comfortable first choice at 32.
Hugo Loris WON THE ■■■■■■■ WORLD CUP this year at 32 and captains his side most weeks.
Lukas Fabianski is 33 years old at West Ham and is on the verge of being solidly in the top half.

In fact in the entire top half of the Premier League only two clubs would have what you would say are young keepers (Ederson and Kepa. And Ederson’s 25 which is older than Liam Roberts and Kepa is 24! The same age).

Now if what you are saying is true wouldn’t all of those keepers have dropped down the league or be on the verge of it? Because that tells me 80% of the highest level in our game are in the braket you are saying is past it or beyond development.

They are not in this division because keepers peak at different ages depending on what league they play in. They are in this division because to reach the next level you need development and a LOT of game time as a keeper.