The importance of Asmir Begovic
At the beginning of November, football fans up and down the country checking in on football scores will have assumed someone in charge of the reporting may have had a drink or two.
November 22nd, 2013
As the clock ticked past three o’clock, teleprinters were soon updating to announce a very early goal between Stoke City and Southampton in the Premier League. It was only when the name of the goalscorer was apparently revealed that suspicions grew – “Begovic, 1”.
With the score apparently 1-0, the immediate reaction to a goal in the first minute by a goalkeeper is to assume that someone is drunk, or that their elbow has knocked on the button and sent the goal through.
Instead; it proved to be completely legitimate. With just 13 seconds on the clock, Asmir Begovic’s long punt up the field caught in a gust of wind, bounced over his opposite number and into the goal. Stoke had an incredibly early lead and Southampton were immediately on the back foot.
By scoring, Begovic became the fifth goalkeeper to net in the Premier League after Peter Schmeichel, Brad Friedel, Paul Robinson and Tim Howard. However, it is the other work that the Bosnian international does for the Potters that should grab him the headlines. Begovic is an excellent goalkeeper; a valued commodity for top flight teams. He is a safe, secure pair of hands and his presence instils confidence in the defenders ahead of him.
Last season, Stoke City finished in 13th position in the Premier League. However, only six teams could boast defensive records better than the Potters. Begovic and his fine shot stopping was a big part of that as he helped the Britannia club to keep teams at bay.
Big and strong, the 26 year-old is now an experienced hand in the Premier League and often the talk of much transfer gossip. Stoke City signed England prospect Jack Butland in January, obviously aware that Asmir would be on the shopping list of Europe’s biggest clubs. Despite apparent interest from Manchester City and a host of clubs in the Bundesliga, he remained in Mark Hughes’ squad for the new season; a bonus for the new manager.
Begovic drew many headlines for his near-100 yard goal and at the same time, it sparked many discussions on what an asset he is to the club. If he sees out the season for Stoke and isn’t coveted in the January window, he’ll be crucial for Mark Hughes enjoying his first season at the club.