GLEN Moss said he was content to remain a guide for No.1 goalkeeper Jack Duncan, and a replacement when needed, at the Newcastle Jets for another A-League season.
All that despite the 35-year-old Kiwi international, who earned a one-year extension announced on Tuesday, impressing in a nine-game stint. Moss’s run brought six wins, a draw and nine goals conceded before a hip problem in the warm-up allowed Duncan to return to the starting side last Saturday night from his time out with a foot injury.
Moss said his injury will keep him out for Thursday night’s away clash with Melbourne City, but he seemed far from confident of returning to the starting side anyway, despite Duncan’s difficult comeback in a 3-2 round 17 loss to Wellington. Duncan was caught wrong-footed by an innocuous ball in to concede the opener and he failed to reach a corner kick for Phoenix’s second.
Moss, though, was confident Duncan would bounce back.
“I said to him that it’s always tough when you’ve been out for an extended period of time,” Moss said of his advice to Duncan, who started the first seven rounds.
“I felt that in my first game, when I played against the Victory and had to come in. Just your positioning and picking up the speed of the game again for a goalkeeper is always quite difficult.
“You can only replicate that so much in training with shot-stopping and distribution, but to get that pace of the game, it might take you a game to pick up.
“Jack’s a confident young character, which is exactly what you need as a goalkeeper, so he’s dying to get back out there again Thursday night and we’ll support him the best we can.
“He’s one of the most talented young goalkeepers that I’ve seen ... it was only because of injury that I managed to get a few [games] and I’m pretty happy with that so far. But he’s got so much ability and he is a confident character, so any mistakes won’t rattle someone like that.”
Despite his own excellent form, Moss was said he had been “just hanging in there” with his hip problem until Duncan returned.
“I’m still struggling,” he said. “It was hurting me the last couple of games so at my age you can’t really take risks and try and push those things because the last thing I want is to be out for four to six weeks and not be able to contribute to the team, so Jack will play on Thursday night.
“I’m proud of my performances when I stepped in for Jack while he was injured and now I can look after myself.”
Asked if it was still frustrating to lose his spot because of injury, Moss said: “Jack was identified as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper for the future, so my role was to support him as an experienced goalkeeper in training day to day and obviously do the best I could when called upon, and help the team get wins, which I’ve done, so I’ve embraced that role and actually quite enjoyed it.
“Jack’s a pleasure to work with and to watch him progress is quite satisfying.”
“The hip’s on the mend, it’s been bothering me the last couple of weeks, so I was just trying to get through those two or three games in quick succession and hang on until Jack comes back and now he’s back to full fitness, so I can look after it a lot more.
“To be a successful club and a successful team challenging for titles, you need depth in every position, and we’re lucky here at the Jets that we’ve got two quality goalkeepers that Ernie won’t hesitate in playing either one.”
As for securing a new deal, Moss said of Newcastle: “I’ve loved it.”
“Right from the first day I’ve come in the vibe and the atmosphere around here has been quality.
“Lawrie McKinna has got a great culture here at the club and I knew Ernie obviously from my time at Phoenix, so I knew he was going to put a strong team together.
“I wanted to be part of a strong team that would be challenging for titles so that was quite appealing in making the move over.
“We’re on the right path but we’re definitely not getting ahead of ourselves, but we’re happy with where we are.”
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