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FLW Spotlight

Could this player be the solution to West Ham’s goalkeeping issues?



West Ham should look at Alex Smithies as their starting goalkeeper for next season.

QPR had a mediocre season as they finished 16th, but Ian Holloway couldn’t have finished much higher with the resources available. However, he was sacked with the board not satisfied with the league position or the progress under him.

This is a big sign of ambition, but they will need to back that up with significant funding for whichever manager they decide to bring in. They also might have to prepare for outgoings with Massimo Luongo likely to go as well as Smithies potentially.

Smithies made 43 league appearances with seven clean sheets in those games. Therefore, he had a clean sheet percentage of 16.3, which isn’t that impressive on its own.

He was busy, though, with 93 saves which meant he averaged over two saves per game. This shows how much work he had to do with his defence struggling to stifle opposition attacks. He conceded 64 goals on top of this, so his goal was under heavy pressure.

His numbers are likely to increase with a stronger defence in front of him such as West Ham’s, although they are prone to bad games as well.

One area that he impressed in is his distribution accuracy because he averaged 57%, which is high for a Championship goalkeeper especially because QPR were willing to play direct at times rather than building up from the back.

The evolution of football means that goalkeepers need to be capable on the ball as an 11th passing option as well as being able to play around a high press. Ederson was a great example of that in the Premier League this season.

Smithies would represent a bit of a risk, but he is used to his goal being under pressure as well as being able to circulate possession effectively. Joe Hart’s abysmal loan spell and Adrian’s inconsistency means that he would certainly be an improvement on them both.