Joe is already making a big impression this season. (©PAphotos)
by Paul Harper
, read by 360 people.
At a time when English goalkeepers are a bit of a rarity, Tranmere Rovers appear to have unearthed a little gem in the shape of 18 year-old Joe Collister.
The young shot-stopper from Hoylake has started between the sticks for Rovers in their last two outings. He kept clean sheets on both occasions and made some excellent saves as his side beat Walsall and gained an away point at Huddersfield.
In the summer, Tranmere manager Les Parry brought in the more experienced Gunnar Nielsen from Manchester City to be his number one goalkeeper.
Nielsen is a Faroe Islands international and so missed Tranmere's Carling Cup first round clash at Walsall while he was away on international duty, which handed Collister his opportunity to shine.
That chance was grasped with both hands as the youngster turned in a confident display which was topped off by a fantastic match-winning save in the second half to maintain Tranmere's lead as they went through to the second round.
With Nielsen coming back from international action with an injury, Collister was again thrown into the team against one of the top sides in League One, Huddersfield. Again, no goals went past him and he put in a faultless performance.
At a time when there is a dearth of English goalkeeping talent around, it is really encouraging to see Collister being given a chance at such a young age. He made his Tranmere first team debut at 17, making him the second youngest goalkeeper to play for Rovers.
He looks the part. He is a confident lad who commands his penalty area well, is a good shot-stopper and communicates very well with the defenders in front of him. He has all the ingredients which make for a good goalkeeper.
He follows in the footsteps of other good goalkeepers who have been brought through the youth ranks at Prenton Park. Danny Coyne, Steve Simonsen and Joe Murphy all started their careers at Tranmere and progressed to play in the top flight. Collister will be looking to make that same grade.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.