Ashley Bayes has helped Aaron Ramsdale and worked with Willy Caballero, but recently he again shared just some of his considerable knowledge during a day with our Academy youngsters.
“Bayzo”, with help of Academy Goalkeeper Coach Craig Longstaff, put our 11–16-year-olds through a lively session at our New Malden training base. They were joined by first team keepers Nik Tzanev and Zaki Oualah and scholars Aaron Jones, Luka Ziger and Harry Griffiths.
During his time with the Dons, “Bayzo” has also played a key role in the development of two young England keepers, as well as enhancing the careers of Luton’s James Shea, Millwall’s George Long and Derby’s Kelle Roos – to name just a few. He’s always on the lookout for new talent that could boost our prospects.
“Bayzo and I have been talking for a while about getting this session in,” said Academy Manager Michael Hamilton. “Due to the pandemic and other hurdles it’s unfortunately been two years between the two goalkeeping events.
“When it was revisited a few weeks ago, ahead of the boys being off school, Bayzo didn’t stop messaging me to get the day planned. His passion for goalkeeping and developing the stars of tomorrow needs no introduction, there’s very few places where you’d get the first team goalkeeping coach working with the under-11s.
“Days like this build connectivity throughout the club, and helps the young men in the academy visualise where, through hard work, they can progress to. They go away with one or two golden nuggets for their development.”
For Craig Longstaff, previously with Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace, it was his first Academy Goalkeeper Day with us, and he found the experience hugely beneficial.
“It’s fantastic to see the first-team goalkeepers working and as our youngsters aspire to follow in their footsteps,” said Craig. “It’s a great experience for them and shows what levels they need to reach.
“They're great young goalkeepers and the future looks bright ahead of us! I’m looking forward to the next few seasons of their development. We’ve got some strong boys, the U-15s and 16s in particular, and there’s talent there throughout the age groups.”
Watch our second Goalkeeping Day, including incredible saves by our young Dons, below – via the link to our official YouTube channel.