SWISS ROLE IS JAYSON’S AIM
JOE Hart remains a Shrewsbury icon, but record-breaker Jayson Leutwiler is eager to emulate England’s No.1 after booking his own place in New Meadow folklore.
Hart spent his formative years with the Shrews before Manchester City made a bargain £100,000 move for the then19-year-old in 2006.
The teenager hardly had time to set any records in Shropshire but showed his huge potential.
A glittering Premier League and international career has since followed for Hart but, after Leutwiler kept his 22nd clean sheet of a phenomenal League Two campaign against York last weekend, there is a new hero between the sticks.
And former Switzerland U20 international Leutwiler is setting his sights high after helping Shrewsbury to promotion to League One yesterday.
“It’s possible I could make it to the senior Switzerland team, but it’s very difficult so hopefully going up will help,” said the keeper, who turned 26 yesterday. “It’s always an honour to play for your country.
“After the club came down last year, it is massive to go back up. It’s never easy to bounce straight back and it has been really hard.
“The first thing everyone said to me when I signed here in the summer was how proud they were of Joe Hart. He’s obviously a big player to have played for a club like Shrewsbury, even if it was a long time ago now.
“I’m happy to say I have played in the same position, and at the same club, as someone like Joe Hart – not many people can say that.”
Leutwiler’s rise this term has been remarkable. The former Basel stopper was released by Middlesbrough in the summer having made just three Championship appearances in two seasons, yet he holds no grudges.
“Jason Steele was the keeper at the time,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say ‘fair play’ because he was in top form and he was never injured.
“If I’m honest I probably wasn’t ready to play in the Championship at that time, but it was great to go there and see how goalkeepers play in England and get the experience.It was a great two years for me.”
The Shrews’ previous record of 21 clean sheets came way back in the 1967-68 season.
Leutwiler, a self-confessed perfectionist, said: “It was great to get the record, but I take the approach of ‘You can always do better’. I’ve been very happy with my performances, but I have to give credit to the whole team.
“They always help me, there’s great communication in the defence and it makes my life so much easier.”
SHREWD SIGNING: Blues keeper Jayson Leutwiler spreads himself against Hartlepool
OLD BOY: Joe Hart started out with Shrewsbury