By Giuseppe Muro
There has been a lot of attention on Arsenal's goalkeepers this season, but away from the spotlight of the first team James Shea has quietly gone about his business in the Reserves as he continues to show promise of developing into a top-class custodian.
The 19-year-old has become a regular in Neil Banfield's second string with assured performances between the sticks demonstrating confident handling, positioning and shot stopping.
Islington-born Shea most certainly looks like one for the future, though if you look back a few years he took a slightly unconventional path to becoming a goalkeeper before joining Arsenal as a teenager.
"I wasn't a goalkeeper [when I was younger]," said Shea. "I didn't start taking it seriously until I was about 14.
"I had a foot injury so I went in goal for my little local team in a tournament. I did well, got scouted from there and I've been here ever since!
"When I was younger I didn't really like playing in goal because I wanted to play outfield. But, as I've got older, I've got used to it. I'm good at it so I thought I might as well carry on with it."
Shea does see advantages of his unorthodox move between the sticks with modern-day goalkeepers needing ‘outfield' qualities to make it at the highest level.
"Now goalkeepers have to be able to play with their feet, able to play out from the back and be a sweeper for balls over the top. You've still got to be able to read the game and cope with pressure because you're the last line of defence and first line of attack.
"I love playing out on pitch and I'm always asking to play in training. Henri Lansbury loves a go in goal, he always takes my gloves off me after training and he's not bad to be honest!
"Though I think I'm staying in goal. I just get on with what I'm doing, keep my head down, keep training well and hopefully I will show that I'm good enough."