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Cherries: Moss tips Jalal to play into his 40s
Published : 26 Feb 2011 07:00:00
NEIL Moss believes star pupil Shwan Jalal could emulate the longevity of League One's veteran goalkeeping brigade by playing into his 40s like today's counterpart. In-form Jalal will come face to face with one of the Football League's big characters when Cherries visit Dagenham and Redbridge (3pm). His opposite number Tony Roberts, who began his career with QPR in 1987, is still going strong between the sticks for Daggers at the age of 41. It is the second consecutive weekend that Cherries have come up against an experienced keeper, having failed to find a way past Huddersfield's 39-year-old Ian Bennett. Jalal has been an influential performer again this term and saw his displays recognised with the PFA fans' player-of-the-month award for January. And Cherries goalkeeping coach Moss, a Dean Court favourite during his playing days, thinks Jalal's best years are ahead of him. He told the Echo: I remember I came back here when I was 28 and the best I felt was probably the last six months I had before I got the injury. At 30 years old, I was still young enough and fit enough to be able to do everything I wanted to do, but you are old enough to have learned along the way. Jal has got those years to look forward to. I certainly think we will see an improvement in him over the next four or five years. Hopefully, if he keeps himself fit and strong which he is at the moment, he can go on playing for another 12 or 13 years. Ian Bennett is pushing 40 and the Dagenham keeper Tony Roberts is 41. Certainly if you looked at the way Ian Bennett played last Saturday, I thought he was outstanding. That is 12 or 13 years ahead for Jal if he looks after himself and remains being a good professional, like he has been. Discussing Jalal, Moss said: He hasn't got any particular weaknesses in his game. Fans see what happens on a Saturday or a Tuesday night. But he works as hard as any of the other keepers, considering the other keepers aren't playing. He always wants to do more and do extra and you need to have that attitude. He wants to work at his game and keep improving. He is 27, which is no age for a keeper, and he wants to play as high as he can. With the form he is showing at the moment, our biggest problem is going to be keeping hold of him at the end of the season. Moss added: I don't work with the other keepers day in, day out like I do with Jal, but I wouldn't swap him for anyone in this division. I said that last season and the challenge for Jal was to be pushing to be the best keeper in this league. At the moment, he must be up there challenging.