I wouldn’t be disheartened if Lee Burge was still our number one next season. As League One goalkeepers go, he’s about average, perhaps just above average. His record of clean sheets last season probably attests to this – despite the fact he’s not great, when compared to goalies at other clubs, he’s alright.
That said, we should look to improve everywhere and the goalkeeper position is no exception. I’d be half tempted to fast-track young Patterson through the ranks, given he’s 21 now and has shown he’s ready for the next step. But if it’s a Championship-standard keeper that we’re after, I’d be happy enough with that.
If we’re looking at loaning someone in from a Premier League side, then I’d rather we try and develop our own young prospect over someone else’s. It makes f*ck all sense to develop any goalkeeper in my view unless you own them outright. But that’s just me!
Malc Dugdale says...
Much like a lot of the squad, Burge has been part of a team that has failed on more than one occasion to help us secure promotion. Based on that, I want a breath of fresh air in this part of the pitch as much as everywhere else.
Burge has done OK this season but he has still had times when he could have done better, and what we need is a keeper who we can go up with, and potentially stick with, in the Championship.
Yes, he was part of a long and strong defensive run and he saved a pen in the second play-off semi, and if we (ahem Chazza) had done better at the other end we may have at least taken the tie to extra time and pens. Had we done so, I don’t think we would have beaten Blackpool for the first time all season, and if we did, Lee isn’t strong enough for the next level.
Let’s bring in some competition is my view. Patterson is the future, let’s loan him out to do the same job we did with Pickford, and let’s get someone we can rely on between the sticks, or at least a goalie to push Burge to excel.
Gary Engel says...
Lee Burge is the kind of understudy the manager would bring on for a penalty shootout. Despite some good stops and a reasonable number of clean sheets, he is nowhere near the standard of Jon McLaughlin. If we’d had McLaughlin either this season just gone or in our last Championship season I’m almost sure the outcomes would have been different.
It looks very much like we are going for a youthful new-look side next season, including at the back. Therefore, in goal a very safe pair of hands is required. Either in the shape of an older head or just someone truly confident.
That to me doesn’t suggest Lee Burge being the right man for that job. If there was any doubt, Burge’s calamitous decision making, having been initially sold short by Flanagan, against Lincoln resulting in their second goal, made up my mind.
Everyone can make a mistake - sure. But the difference between moving up the leagues is consistency. We are where we are because we have been very inconsistent when it has mattered most. Too many inconsistent performers have held us back for three seasons.
This is the time to get it right. Keep the faith in players who can take us up and take us to the next level. As long as you’re good enough, you’re old enough should be our new mantra.
Chris Wynn says...
I thought Lee Burge is a big confidence player. I remember seeing him in action early on after he initially signed under Jack Ross in a League Cup game at Bramall Lane and he more than looked the part.
He made some important saves, in what ended up a 1-0 victory and played a major part in getting us to the next round. I also came away thinking he had a cracking boot on him as well, where our goal in that game came from his ability to get the ball so far into the opposition’s half.
He pushed Jon McLaughlin for the No.1 position and rightly so as the Scotsman’s form dipped, but unfortunately, Lee Burge’s confidence seemed to be knocked at the same time and that seemed to spill over into last season.
He started the season as first choice between the sticks after McLaughlin had moved on, and it looked as if the pressure was heavy on his shoulders. He grew in confidence but there always seemed to be a mistake in him, but I think there’s a good keeper there and if he gets off to a good start I’d be hoping for a good season from him.
As back-up, we currently only have Anthony Patterson who has so far only got two senior games under his belt which both came in the EFL Trophy, and you could argue that having just celebrated his 21st birthday last month, it should be more.
The Newcastle-born keeper was highly rated by Jack Ross and received praise from Lee Johnson after his performance in his first win as Sunderland manager that came at Oldham Athletic in the Papa John’s, so managers are clearly impressed with the young stopper.
At 21-years-old, if we can’t trust him to be an understudy to Lee Burge next season then for his own career he may need to look elsewhere to kickstart his career as he needs to start plying his trade in the football league.