IS MAIK THE BEST CATCH?
By Phill Othen
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The former Liverpool star was asked to pick a player he would have in his side from each of the home countries and Keegan surprisingly plumped for Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor as his number one from Northern Ireland.
Keegan worked with Taylor at Fulham and claimed: "He’s the best taker of a cross I’ve ever seen in my life.
"Watch the guy in training, and you can see how good he is on crosses. And Maik can still improve because he is still young."
Perhaps Keegan should have consulted with Opta before finalising his choices because we can exclusively reveal that the erstwhile Southampton stopper has dropped five crosses this season and only five other Division One ‘keepers have fumbled more centres than the Northern Ireland international.
Neighbouring Republic of Ireland number one and Charlton goalie Dean Keily has dropped one fewer, while England and Ipswich ‘keeper Ricky Wright has spilled just three crosses this season.
If Taylor is looking for some help in this area of his game, he could do worse than seeking advise from a potential England international and Nationwide ‘keeper Nicky Weaver. The Sheffield-born 21-year old has failed to claim only one centre all campaign between the sticks for Manchester City.
It’s fair to say that the Fulham stopper has been forced to deal with more crosses than his Division One counterparts, having claimed over 100 balls swung into the penalty area this term - which is in excess of 20 more than any other ‘keeper has managed - but 29-year old Taylor would need to improve his catching success before he could oust the current England numbers’ one and two.
Arsenal’s David Seaman is yet to drop a centre this season, while Leeds’ Nigel Martyn has fumbled just twice - and this against the arguably better standard of crossing experienced in the Premiership.
Although Keegan answered what was essentially a fantasy question, it is interesting that he plumped for a Nationwide Division One player above anyone else - especially given the Fulham connection. However, there is no doubt that Taylor is a top quality ‘keeper and at 29 years young, the German-born goalie may have made the Northern Ireland number one spot his own for years to come.
For the exclusive opta stats on Taylor`s season Click here