Loanee Luke keeping his feet on the ground
06 October 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Young goalkeeper Luke McGee is relishing the chance to play consistently in the Football League with Peterborough United – but has played down his dual penalty saves over the last week.
The 21-year-old linked up with the League One side on loan on transfer deadline day and after being named on the bench for a 2-2 draw with Swindon Town on September 3, he’s started every game since.
Crucially, he saved a penalty in last Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury Town and then repeated the feat on Saturday as the Posh drew with Southend United, also 1-1.
Unfortunately, the academy product wasn’t able to prevent MK Dons from escaping the ABAX Stadium with a 1-0 win in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening but the Edgware-born stopper, who honed his craft working with Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez as our third-choice custodian last season, is nevertheless full of optimism after enjoying a sustained run of senior games for the first time in his career.
“I’ve been up there for five weeks now, I’ve played six games and while obviously we would have liked to have won more matches, I feel like it’s going well,” said Luke, who was on the bench for us in our Premier League games against Crystal Palace and Liverpool in August before linking up with Grant McCann’s side.
“It’s been good to get a consistent amount of games under my belt, to get out on loan and get that exposure. It goes from training every day at Tottenham and trying to improve yourself, which has helped me massively, to going out there and needing the three points because it’s people’s livelihoods on the line, so it’s a completely different kind of pressure.
“The other players at the club have been really good with me – it’s quite a young group, obviously there’s a couple of boys that I’ve played with before at Spurs like Lee Angol and Shaq Coulthirst, plus we have Nathan Oduwa here on loan as well so it was quite easy to blend in and the lads are a good bunch with a mixture of youth and experience. On the pitch, we’ve drawn a lot of games lately but we’ve got a very good footballing side and we create a lot of chances. Obviously we’d like to take a few more of them but I’m sure that’ll come soon.”
On his penalty saves against Shrewsbury and Southend, Luke was remaining coy this week, instead preferring to focus on his team’s priority of winning games: “I’ve had two in two now – the first one was okay, the second wasn’t quite as good a penalty but you’ve got to go the right way. It’s nice to save a penalty, it’s like scoring in a way, but you can’t get too carried away with it because it’s more about the performances and the result.”
While Luke is wearing the number one shirt at Posh, something he admits comes with a lot of responsibility, he is facing competition for his spot from veteran stopper and Peterborough legend Mark Tyler. The 39-year-old, who also doubles up as the club’s goalkeeping coach, made a staggering 486 appearances during a 15-year stint at Peterborough that began in the mid-1990s, then made over 200 appearances for Luton before returning to the ABAX Stadium earlier this year.
“He’s played a huge amount of games in the Football League and working with him every day is only going to be beneficial because he’s been there and done it for years now,” explained Luke. “He’s given me some great tips and every day I’m learning more.
“It’s nice to have the number one shirt on your back too, but you’ve got to live up to it. I’m certainly enjoying it, our performances are getting there and I’m sure soon enough it will click nicely.”
Meanwhile, attacking midfielder Nathan (pictured, above) was introduced as a second-half substitute for Peterborough in both the aforementioned matches against Southend and MK Dons while Will Miller stepped off the bench for Burton Albion midway through the second half in their 2-0 home win over Cardiff City in the Championship on Saturday.
Overseas, defender Federico Fazio again played 90 minutes for Italian side Roma as they won 2-1 at home to Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday while midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has remained ever-present for German outfit FC Schalke 04 in home victories against Red Bull Salzburg (3-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, September 29) and Borussia Monchengladbach (4-0 in the Bundesliga on Sunday, October 2) over the last week.