MR CLEAN DAN GETS BIG HUG!
SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown backed goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to reach the very top of the game after he secured the 50th clean sheet of his career in a goalless draw at Roots Hall.
The 22-year-old did well to deny both Leon Barnett and Reece James to secure his latest shut-out for the Shrimpers.
And Brown believes Bentley will go on to match the career of Wigan’s Jussi Jaaskelainen who he worked with for several seasons at Bolton Wanderers.
“Jussi is a good friend of mine, he’s had a top career but I’m sure Daniel Bentley will go on to have one too,” said Brown.
“Daniel is 22 so for him to have 50 clean sheets already is a fantastic achievement and it meant he got an even bigger hug from me than normal.
“When I was a Bolton, Jussi was one of the best goalkeepers in the country. We had to fend off interest from Arsenal and Manchester United at one point and I do believe Dan will get to that level too.
“I told him to analyse what Jussi did because he’s a calming influence on his defenders and it was a really nice touch for him to give Daniel his shirt at the end of the game.”
Bentley’s clean sheet secured the eighth-placed Shrimpers a share of the spoils.
And Brown felt a draw was a fair result.
“We had our moments out there, we hit the bar and had a penalty shout but so did they so overall a draw was about right,” added the Southend boss.
“There were two good footballing teams out there who were tactically aware of what each other were doing.
“But their budget is five times what mine is, so it’s a good point, especially as we’re seven or eight players down at the moment.”
However, Southend rarely troubled visiting stopper Jasskelainen but he was nearly beaten after just seven minutes when in-form midfielder Ryan Leonard slammed a long-range shot against the crossbar.
In reply, Wigan centre-back Barnett saw an effort cleared off the line by Will Atkinson before he was denied by Bentley at the start of the second half.
Bentley also did well to palm away a long-range effort from James before Barnett slammed an injury-time effort against the crossbar.
And boss Gary Caldwell was disappointed promotion-chasing Wigan returned to the north west with just a point to show for their efforts.
“We had one off the line and one off the bar, so although a draw was a fair result it was disappointing not to nick it,” said Caldwell, whose side remain fifth in the table.
“Whenever Leon plays it’s eventful and he was unlucky not to score.
“He was a real nuisance for them but he also defended well to help us get a positive clean sheet. We have a big squad we need to use so I made a few changes to the team because this is a tough, competitive league.
“We saw that again against Southend but we just have to keep on concentrating on what we do.”
CHALLENGE: Southend’s Jack Payne flies in on the attack. Inset: Goalkeeper Dan Bentley keeps a Wigan shot at bay
PRAISE: Southend’s Phil Brown