Latest podcast: Roberts on life in the world of modern football

In the latest MyAlbion Audio podcast goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts discusses his playing career and his role working with Albion’s goalkeepers.

By Alex Stedman • 12 February 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts.

Roberts made 35 league appearances for Albion during a career that spanned 17 years. Among many other things, he talked about how much football has changed and the specific qualities goalkeepers need to have to flourish at the top level.

He said, “The level of scrutiny has gone up massively since my playing days with things like 24-hour sports news channels and social media. 

“Sometimes that can be good, sometimes it can’t. The speed of the game itself has changed as well, and I think everything is so much quicker now.  

“The goalkeepers themselves have changed too but how depends on the club’s philosophy. But there’s a growing emphasis on making sure they’re comfortable on the ball and good with both feet. 

“They have to be able to handle pressure on the ball too. It doesn’t matter so much about height, it’s about how an individual can use the capabilities they’ve got and their character. 

“Character is a big one for me when it comes to goalkeepers, because there’s a different type of pressure in that position which is like nowhere else on the field. The Premier League is the highest level and you have to be able to deal with that. 

“Before we sign people, we do a lot of work on someone’s character and look at how many times they’ve played under pressure or been in certain situations.

By Paul Hazlewood
Ben Roberts out on the training field.

Roberts discusses at length the level of scrutiny players are under these days. “I keep using things like social media as an example, but if you take too much notice of that then it can affect you.  

“Back in my day as a player it used to be hearing people in my Dad’s newsagents criticising me. Nowadays you don’t know who they are, but everyone’s got their say. 

“But that’s why football is so popular because everyone has an opinion. It doesn’t mean someone’s always right, and you have to balance everything in your head.

“Society has changed, and we have to be aware that of as the younger lads come through the ranks.

"In our goalkeeping department we are very transparent about things like that and so we chat about social media management and the expectations of how people conduct themselves both on and off the pitch.” 

Albion fans can listen to the interview below, as well as a selection of other conversations over on MyAlbion Audio.

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