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A tale of two keepers

Posted on 23 February 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

The net-minding situation at Conference side Woking has become something of a tale of two goalkeepers - two Spurs keepers.

Shwan Jalal (right) joined the Surrey side back in October and has since made 16 appearances, winning many plaudits along the way.

He helped in shoring up a Woking defence that had conceded 19 goals in four games prior to his arrival and has been on the winning side seven times.

Last week Shwan suffered a thigh injury that early reports suggested would keep him out of action for three weeks - enter fellow Spur Robert Burch on a one-month loan.

The 19-year-old (pictured, left), recently called up by England under-20s for the friendly against Germany, answered the call and turned out for Woking last Saturday away at Gravesend.

Although the Kingsmeadow outfit suffered a 4-2 reverse, Rob gave a good account of himself and enjoyed the experience - one in which Gravesend recorded 27 shots on target.

"Shwan got injured last Thursday and they needed someone else to take over," reflected Rob back at Spurs Lodge. "I got the phone call on Thursday and played on Saturday against Gravesend.

"It was a good experience, very physical. They had lots of shots, I don't know the exact figures, but it was a very busy game for me.

"It was a bit of a shock going from the under-19s and reserves to playing in a game like that. The pitches aren't as good and you've got the fans behind the goals giving you grief.

"It's good though to discover what it is like.

"It was a weird game really. They were on top and had lots of shots. We got it back to 2-2 and then they killed us with two goals close together."

Rob admitted that he fully expected a bit of banter suggesting that the other Spurs keeper might have stopped a couple, but it was not the case.

"Not in the changing room, I was waiting for the crowd to start saying they wanted Shwan back. All the players were good, it is hard going into a game at any time, not just meeting your team on the day."

Rob now waits to discover whether he impressed enough on England duty to get the call for the World Under-20 Championships that take place in the UAE in late March. The early signs are encouraging.

"I've been told to be prepared to go depending on the other keepers who are going. I got a letter saying to get my injections done.

"There is a trip to Switzerland just before, so the squad that is named for that will be going to the World Championships."