The future of League Two – goalkeepers

League Two, normally those two words are enough to make most football fans across the UK and the World to stop paying any attention but the 2011/12 season will be like nothing the league has ever seen before.

My name is Dan Johnson (@danjohnson6) I’m a Swindon Town fan and have been writing about Swindon’s fortunes of the last four seasons, and despite being relegated to League Two this upcoming season is one I can’t wait to finally get started.

Before a ball is kicked in League Two we will look at the best young talent that the league has to offer all over the pitch starting with Goalkeepers.

Over the years League Two has produced some great talent that has gone on to play in the Premier League and Internationally, one of the best examples of that would be Goalkeepers.

David Stockdale, Mark Bunn, Paddy Kenny, and most famously the current England number one Joe Hart are just a few players who all started life in League Two and have moved up to the highest level and the five keepers I’m talking about today have the same chance to make the jump up the football league ladder.

These five goalkeepers will be the best young talent to watch out for over the next year in League Two:

5. Jon McLaughlin’s career is different to the rest of the goalkeepers on this list; Jon started life in non-league football at Harrogate Railway Athletic. 

After impressing for Harrogate he signed for Bradford in May 2008.

After a couple of seasons as the clubs number 2 he finally got his first team chance last season and played 28 first team games, and with Bradford trusting their youth team players I’m sure he’ll get a chance in the first team again and will start as the clubs number one.

4. Ben Smith started his career at Newcastle but after a short spell he moved onto Doncaster Rovers where he would spend fours years.

Despite having a short run in the first team when he first joined he was never able to move Neil Sullivan from being first choice and like a lot of players was released.

But in 2010 he was given a lifeline by Shrewsbury Town and has been battling for the number one shirt with another young keeper Chris Neal but has found himself in favour at the end of last season and is hoping to make 2011/12 his first season as the clubs number one.

3. Seb Brown began life as a professional at Brentford and after a short loan spell at Windsor & Eton and a few appearances in cup games for Brentford he was released in 2009.

He was signed by then non-league side AFC Wimbledon and has been there consistent number one as they have climbed up the football league ladder.

He also played a huge role in them being promoted this year especially in the final after saving a penalty, and because of that has been the subject of interest from some bigger clubs recently and I’ll be surprised if he is still an AFC Wimbledon player this time next year, even though he actually supports the club.

2. Adam Bartlett started his career at Newcastle where he spent 10 years but failed to make an impact in the first team and was released in 2005.

But like the rest in our list he bounced back from that disappointment and went on to sign for non-league side Blyth Spartans and made over 110 appearances during a 3 year spell and he’s still held in high regard at the club. When he left the club in 2008 due to his popularity and performances he was added to the Blyth Spartans Hall of Fame.

After leaving Blyth he signed for Kidderminster and after being named Conference player of the year he signed for Hereford in 2009.

Since joining Hereford he has been ever present between the posts and even though the club had a disappointing season recently he was one of the shining lights and recently signed a new 2-year contract.

1. Stuart Tomlinson started his career at Crewe and was unlucky with injures nearly the whole time he was at the club and was released in 2009.

In the same summer he went on trial with Port Vale but due to Vale’s financial problems he was unable to sign and spent the 2009-10 season at Barrow.

Port Vale again showed interest in 2010 and he joined Vale as back up to Chris Martin but after a few poor performances from Martin, Stuart has taken his opportunity and has now become the first team keeper.

In late 2010 it was reported that a number of Championship clubs made a bid for his services but boss Micky Adams quickly brushed aside any talk of a transfer and Tomlinson still remains at Vale Park for the coming season.

By Dan the fan – Swindon Town fan@danjohnson6

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