The goalkeeping position is something that is always heavily discussed with every England National Team squad announcement. With only one spot up for grabs during games, and normally only three on each camp, it seems like there are a number of goalkeepers who are overlooked if they don’t play at the ‘top clubs’.
I believe that one of these is 2018/19 FA Save of the Season winner and all-round ‘super shot-stopper’ Megan Walsh. Despite making 8 England appearances across 3 youth age groups, U17, U19 and U23, she is yet to receive an England Senior call up.
At 24 years old, Walsh has already played for some big clubs in Women’s football, namely Aston Villa, Everton and Notts County. She was captain of Yeovil Town during their 2 years in the Women’s Super League, before joining Brighton and Hove Albion on a one year deal in the summer. This move ensured she would continue to play at the highest level of women’s football after relegation and financial issues meant that Yeovil dropped two leagues into the National League Southern Premier.
Unlike Carly Telford of Chelsea or Mary Earps, formally of Wolfsburg, now with Manchester United, Walsh was a regular starter and the first choice keeper at Yeovil Town and appears to have maintained that position at Brighton. She has played every league game of the season so far; keeping a clean sheet in her debut against Bristol City.
Megan is a natural leader and was a much-needed voice on the pitch during Yeovil’s very difficult spell in the Women’s Super League. This leadership, coupled with her quality and composure as a goalkeeper, were vital in ensuring she could perform every game behind an inconsistent backline. She showed that she could be a match for some of the best goal scorers in the world.
Despite finishing at the bottom of the table in both seasons in the WSL, the 2018/19 season was especially amazing for Megan personally. She was awarded 2 Bristol Street Motors Player of the Month awards, the Yeovil Town fans Player of the Year award and was the FA Save of the Season winner for her save away to Liverpool. She also broke her own record for the number of saves made in a single season.
When you look at all the information, it’s hard to understand how Phil Neville and his team select the best goalkeepers for the job. It appears that regardless of game time for your club, if you play for a big name you’re in, and if not, you don’t get a second thought. You would think that playing and performing well week in, week out at the highest level would earn you notice.
Having watched Megan many times during her 2 seasons at Yeovil Town, I was witness to some superb goalkeeping performances, which would easily be worthy of a National Team spot. However, Phil Neville’s controversial plan of sticking to picking team over talent is why I’m glad she is continuing to play at the highest level, so she can continue to show why she deserves her chance.
Photo: Kunjan Malde