The pre-season tour of Ireland has seen Oxford United Goalkeeping Coach Wayne Brown once again pushing the goalkeepers all the way and using technology such as drone cameras and the latest monitoring systems to help the U’s keep as many clean sheets as possible.
Hugely likeable as well as knowledgable, Wayne has been talking to iFollow about the art of goalkeeping and how he intends to continue to develop all of the keepers at the club
“It’s something that Bournemouth have done and although it’s early days still, why shouldn’t we try to replicate what happens at Premier League clubs? They have a backroom team around the goalkeepers alone; analysts, coaches, sports scientists.
“ I like to try and develop and keep progressing and we have made huge strides over the last few years. We have a great group of keepers at Oxford and they are all great people as well. The fans know about Easty but we have Jack Stevens, Manny Agboola and Niall Clayton, all terrific keepers and hungry to be Oxford number one, plus The Maxes- Harris and Evans- coming through the youth team system. Plus of course Scott Shearer who is the glue around the place- he is such a great character and keeps it all together- not just the keepers but the whole squad.
“A lot of keeping is on instincts but you can always improve and it’s important to have done your homework. Look at the penalty shoot out last night. England will have done a stack of research. I was on a course with goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson a couple of weeks ago and you could see him on the bench last night passing on advice on which way the penalties were going to go.
“That’s what we are trying to do here at Oxford as well. Ed Waldron has come in to help me out and is analysing things specifically for the keepers. When Easty made a penalty save at Blackburn last season we had put a lot of work into that, researching their takers and stats for where they went with penalties. Obviously there’s a bit of luck and things change at the last minute, plus of course Easty still has to save it no matter which way we are pointing him to go! But Ed has done a great job and will be a key part of the backroom team.”
Talking about that England game last night, Pickford’s two saves would have caused plenty of discussion between ‘Browny’ and his mentor the legendary Alan Hodgkinson…
“I used to argue with Alan Hodgkinson about just one thing. I’d make a good save in training - I'm sure Oxford fans will say I didn't make many in games!- and he would tell me off for going with my top hand rather than my leading one. I used to say if you make the save then it doesn’t matter- I’m not sure how many England fans were too worried which one Pickford saved that shot from or the penalty!”
Hodgkinson was also a friend and mentor to another Oxford keeper, Ryan Clarke, who has been back at the club this week to help coach the keepers in the under 23 squad.
“I met up with him this summer” Wayne told us. “He said he was signing for Bath but wondering what to do next. I knew we were coming over here to Ireland so I asked if he fancied helping with the under 23 side at Lilleshall. He has loved it and I think he has the character and experience to be a really good goalkeeping coach.”
See the full, fascinating, interview in iFollow right now.