Green for go!
‘ROGUE’ SANCHEZ KEEPS FAITH
ROBERT SANCHEZ’S self belief that he would become Brighton’s No.1 keeper never deserted him – even when he was out on loan at Forest Green Rovers and Rochdale.
His steely determination to succeed shone through as a 15-year-old who had left his Spanish home to move to East Sussex.
Five years later he was on his way to League Two Forest Green before joining League One Rochdale the following season, confident that the Premier League was lying in wait for him.
His former Forest Green goalkeeping coach Pat Mountain, now at Bristol City, recalled: “He was a challenge at times because of the inner belief that although he was with us at Forest Green he felt he was really Brighton’s best keeper.
“I told him that he should really be concentrating on trying to be the best keeper in League Two first.”
Last season when in reality he discovered he was no higher than fifth in line as the Seagulls keeper, Sanchez agreed to join Rochdale. He left his mark with manager Brian BarryMurphy and the rest of the
Dale squad, making 35 appearances which included Cup games against Manchester United and Brighton.
Barry-Murphy said: “He is very rogue and has his own rules but he is an exceptionally talented goalkeeper and has confidence that is not natural for a player of his age.”
But he returned to the south coast last summer still way down the Brighton goalkeeping pecking order and seemed set for another loan move only for David Button to be sold to West Brom while Christian Walton was injured in a pre-season friendly.
Brighton boss Graham Potter decided he needed him and in November he was given his debut ahead of regular Mat Ryan and his deputy Jason Steele.
Outstanding displays saw the surprise January departure of Ryan to Arsenal while Sanchez’s form prompted a call-up to the Spanish squad.
It was thought England boss Gareth Southgate was contemplating adding him to his goalkeeping roster after discovering he was eligible through his English father to play for the Three Lions.
The 6ft 6in giant (above) faces Everton tomorrow night looking to enhance his growing reputation.
Mountain added: “The sky is the limit for him. His natural attributes are phenomenal – his instinctive shot stopping was incredible.”
Meanwhile, one thing Potter knows is to NEVER count on any results at the basement going true to form during t h e relegation run-in as he prepares for the visit of Everton.
West Brom’s 5-2 thrashing of Chelsea was a spectacular reminder to all that nothing is certain in 2020-21.
As was 18th-place Fulham conceding three times in the final 10 minutes to lose 3-1 at Villa.
Potter, whose side have thrown away 20 points from winning positions, reckons to track and trace every twist and turn is a waste of time and energy.
The Seagulls supremo added: “It’s not helpful at all. The only thing you do is concentrate on what you can affect. Results are so hard to get for everybody. ”