Stockdale: We knew Sanchez was destined for the top

Former keeper not surprised by Rob's success in the Premier League.

By Charlie Hanson • 01 June 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Robert Sanchez made 37 Premier League appearances for Albion this campaign, keeping 11 cleansheets.

Former Albion keeper David Stockdale says that there’s no better place for Rob Sanchez to continue developing than on the south coast working with goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts.

The 36-year-old says he and Roberts knew from early on that Sanchez had plenty of ability and is delighted to have seen him make the step up to the Albion first team.

“Me and Ben knew when Rob was coming through he was one to watch out for – we had Christian Walton as well, there was a great crop of keepers coming through.

“But we knew with Rob he had the raw talent to go on and be a top level keeper, he’s a great lad. It wasn’t a surprise to see him playing in the Premier League.

By Paul Hazlewood
David Stockdale, pictured with a number of Albion's academy keepers in 2015, including Rob Sanchez.

“He’s matured and really taken to it, it’ll be interesting to see how far he can go. I hope he stays at Brighton and carries on his learning with Ben, there’s no better goalkeeping coach than him.”

David worked with Roberts for the entirety of his three years here and can see exactly why Sanchez has gone from strength-to-strength.

“Ben and I had tried to work together at previous clubs and it hadn’t come off. So when we finally did at Brighton he said ‘this is what I want you to work on, stay with me and trust me and the process’.

“It wasn’t always easy, I was 30 at the time trying to adapt my style, sometimes it’s hard. But I trusted him and it worked. He’s shown with numerous keepers that he can help anyone improve. That’s why people hold him in such high regard.”

By Paul Hazlewood
David Stockdale worked with Ben Roberts for three years.

The current Wycombe stopper only looks back on his time with Albion with joy, as he played in all but one of Albion’s league games when they won promotion to the Premier League in 2017.

“I will always remember my time at Brighton incredibly fondly, I loved it. I made some great friends and built a really good relationship with the club and the staff. I love watching them play now and I hope they can build on what’s been a really good season.”

Roberts was just as complimentary about his former colleague.

“I loved working with Stocko and introducing him to new concepts about goalkeeping," Ben said. "His contribution to us reaching the Premier League was huge, and he was brilliant for the two years I had him.

"He also played a pivotal role in developing Christian and Rob’s mindset, as he is a born winner and that came through in training daily. I still follow his results every week and I was gutted he didn’t win the play-off final with Wycombe earlier this month."