'Goalkeepers these days have to be like Xavi' - Danny Cowley on key attributes as Portsmouth close in on Manchester City's Gavin Bazunu

Danny Cowley believes it is essential his new goalkeeping recruit must be comfortable using his feet to distribute.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 1:00 pm
Gavin Bazunu is poised to complete a season-long loan move to Pompey. Picture: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

The highly-regarded Republic of Ireland international will battle Alex Bass for residency in Pompey’s first-team next term.

Cowley has declined to comment whether Bazunu is the player he wants to replace Craig MacGillivray who on Monday joined Charlton on a two-year deal.

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Yet Pompey’s head coach admits the target earmarked to arrive at Fratton Park must be able to distribute effectively.

Cowley told The News: ‘Football is moving really fluidly, the role of goalkeepers has changed.

‘We all ask so much from our goalkeepers, they’ve got to be like Xavi haven’t they!

‘I like my goalkeepers to have presence, I like them to be fast, we want to press really high so I like them to be able to play high out of their goal – and be comfortable doing it.

‘I want them to come and sweep behind that high defensive line.

‘I like them to be really aggressive in their decision making – there’s nothing better than a goalkeeper coming to catch a cross and taking the pressure off your defence.

‘We definitely like them to be able to distribute well. It’s a lovely feeling when you’ve got one that has got all the clubs and it’s a key attribute for us.

‘If you actually watch goalkeepers in the Euros, about 90 per cent of their job is actually distribution with their feet.

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‘The most important part is keeping the ball out of the goal, which we all know.

‘But it’s almost like one handling action to every nine actions with their feet.’

MacGillivray made 135 appearances during three seasons at Fratton Park.

When Cowley arrived at the Blues, initially for the final 12 matches of the League One season, he encouraged the Scot to focus on greater distribution.

And Pompey’s head coach has praised how the The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season adapted.

He added: ‘We have nothing but respect for Craig, I thought he was really open-minded, he really worked hard to do what we asked him.

‘It was different to what previous managers had asked him to do – and that was just the truth.’

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