SWISS ROLE IS JAYSON’S AIM

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

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.

Hero

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.

Ex­pe­ri­ence

“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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

SHREWD SIGN­ING: Blues keeper Jayson Leutwiler spreads him­self against Hartle­pool

OLD BOY: Joe Hart started out with Shrews­bury

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