Azkals goalkeeper Etheridge makes Walsall debut

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Neil Etheridge - Walsall/Philippines

international made his debut for English third-tier club Walsall in a 1-1 pre-season draw against Premier League neighbours Aston Villa on Sunday.

The 25-year-old England-born custodian joined the Saddler in early this month after being released from Charlton Athletic in May.

Etheridge slotted straight into Dean Smith’s starting XI and made an impression in his first home appearance in front of a crowd of 6,606 at Bescot Stadium.

“I enjoyed it out there,” he told club’s official website. “It was fantastic for us to come up against top-flight opponents and I thought our fans really got behind us too, so it was a good day.

“This is my first season when I’ll be playing week in, week out and I am looking forward to it. We’ve got good backroom staff here to help me and I feel ready to face the challenge head on.

“I’ll be doing everything I can to establish myself here; it’s a good club to be at and the work that I have done over the summer has been excellent and really helped me.

The former Chelsea academy graduate is expected to be Walsall’s first choice in the next friendly pre-season game against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday before entering the 2015/16 League One campaign.

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