by Charlotte Stacey

After a stunning performance at the SheBelieves Cup and a perfect record of clean sheets this season, England and Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford has finally been able to show the world what she’s made of.

It is an unfortunate truth that goalkeepers can sometimes find themselves on the end of a raw deal. Not only can it be a thankless task, there are instances in which many able keepers are overlooked. The problem they face, unlike outfield players, is that there is only space for one. Of course, for most clubs there is rotation, but depending on circumstances, this can be sparse season to season, tournament to tournament. In the case of Carly Telford, the luck of the draw has not always dealt her the most favourable hand in reaching the pole position. Although there have been times during her career in which she has not quite managed to maintain a permanent start on the pitch, this has fortunately not deterred her. Luckily at both club level and internationally, Telford has always been nipping at the heels of the number one.

Carly Telford is first and foremost a finely crafted shot stopper. Unafraid to come off of her line and to impose herself on a threatening play, Telford makes some big saves. Having an eye for an incoming play is all well and good, but unless keepers are able to react with the appropriate urgency, this becomes somewhat obsolete. Fortunately, Telford is more than proficient in both. With quick thinking, and equally as quick hands and feet, Telford is more often than not, quite literally, on the ball. 

With a no-nonsense approach between the posts, her resolute attitude on the pitch has seen her prove time and time again, she is a player you want in your squad. Her ability to read a game in its entirety, as well as her acute attentiveness to remain switched on even when she is perhaps a little redundant, has meant she has withstood the test of time. Whether it is her wealth of experience or her infectious optimism, there is no denying that Telford has a quality that has kept her around.

When it comes to distribution, Telford is skilled. She is more than capable in making the appropriate decision. Whether it is quickly initiating a counter attack, or taking her time to slow the pace in an attempt to establish possession, Telford is confident in her choice. When pushing forward, Telford is able to direct long balls with accuracy, and completes short passes with clear communication in how she wishes to orchestrate her team.

Patiently having had to wait until last year’s World Cup to play her first minutes in a major tournament will have no doubt caused Telford times of disappointment and frustration. However, with her display at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, it was certainly worth the wait. In moments of panic Telford did not bow down to intimidation and remained unnerved when advanced upon. In fact, Telford positively remained one of the calmest players throughout. Her experienced voice of reason serving as a comfort for teammates and supporters alike. Her performance in front of the net almost faultless, noting that without Telford, the Lionesses score line could have read very differently.

Tried and tested, Telford is a player that can be relied upon to get you out of trouble. But more than that, both on and off the pitch, Telford’s drive to proceed with resilience and determination in the face of uncertainty is admirable. It is this perseverance that has seen her edge ever closer to her goal, and when the time has called, she has certainly risen to the occasion. Thankfully, Telford’s patience has finally paid off.

With those safe hands and mighty saves speaking for themselves, all that’s left to say is;

CT, she’s a keeper.

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