Neil Etheridge- Player Of The Year

Neil Etheridge is a 29 year old goalkeeper for Cardiff City. He was born in London however represents the Philippines national team through his Philippines born mother. He started his footballing career in the youth team of both Chelsea but failed to make a single appearance at club.

He spent 6 years as a professional on the books of Fulham between the years of 2008 and 2014 and again he failed to break in to the first team making only one first team appearance. He had numerous loan moves loan moves during his Fulham career to lower league clubs like Charlton Athletic, Bristol Rovers and Crewe Alexandra yet only made 16 appearances in those loan moves combined.

Following his release from Fulham in 2015 he joined Oldham Athletic and then Charlton, where again he failed to get much game time, before moving on to Walsall at the end of the season. This is where Etheridge started to establish himself having nearly turned his back on professional football. In his first season at Walsall he cemented the number 1 goalkeeping sport making 50 appearances in all competitions and helping the club reach the playoff semi finals. In the following season he was again first choice goalkeeper making 44 appearances in all competitions.

At the start of the 2017-18 season Etheridge knocked back a three-year deal at Walsall and opted to join Cardiff City. He made his debut on the opening day of the season keeping a clean sheet and never looked back from there playing in 45 of the 46 league games keeping 19 clean sheets helping the club progress back to the Premier League. The following season he began the season in sparkling form saving two penalties in the first month of the season helping the club gain valuable points and was even nominated for Augusts Premier League Player Of The Month. Despite the club being relegated at the end of the season Etheridge was their standout performer and one of the standout goalkeepers in the league. This led to him winning the clubs player of the year at their end of season. Due to his sparkling form they also now face a struggle to hold on to him for the coming season with Aston Villa under his old manager at Walsall Dean Smith having reportedly had an 8 million pound bid rejected for him but are set to come in with an improved offer. Cardiff will be hoping they can hold on to their player of the year and prized asset.

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