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England legend Beardsley recommended new Derby County keeper

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 06, 2014

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DERBY County’s newest recruit Jonathan Mitchell came recommended by former England star Peter Beardsley.

Mitchell is joining the Rams on a free transfer when his contract with Newcastle United expires at the end of this month.

The young goalkeeper has agreed a one-year deal with Derby and says he is relishing the chance to work with coach Eric Steele.

Steele has revealed he got the lowdown on Mitchell from Beardsley, who is in charge of Newcastle’s under-21 team.

“Jonathan is going to be a good addition to the goalkeeping department,” said the former Manchester United goalkeeping coach.

“He is 19 years old and completed his first year as a professional last season.

“I spoke to some good friends of mine – Peter Beardsley, who runs their under-21s, and Chris Terpcou (Newcastle Academy goalkeeping coach) – and they only had good things to say about him.

“So we got him down, had him in for a few days and we have liked what we have seen from him.

“We have offered him a contract, which he has accepted, and he will be joining us in pre-season as part of the new goalkeeping set-up.”

Steele is encouraged by the quality of young stoppers now at the club, who will be looking to provide competition for current number one Lee Grant.

Kelle Roos, Mitchell, Mats Morch and Ross Etheridge will all be hoping to stake their claim.

“We brought Kelle Roos in from Nuneaton Town in January and he has learnt, had a taste of the first-team environment, played his under-21 development games and has been a very good addition,” said Steele.

“We have seen (Mats) Morch and (Ross) Etheridge develop, too. They have gone out and played at Gresley and Ilkeston and have come back with match experience - and they will be all the better for that.

“Grant has got young blood behind him now. Kelle has stepped up - he is 21 and he is hungry.

“I first saw him when he was 17, so I have known about him for four years.

“We have brought a raw talent in and in three or four months, he has become a part of the set-up.

“Now he has got to go on to the next stage. He has got to take that role on and he has got to challenge and threaten Lee Grant.

“If he doesn’t do it, then we have got Jonathan Mitchell underneath him and then we have got Ross Etheridge and Mats Morch, too.”

Adam Legzdins is one keeper leaving Derby this summer at the end of his contract - but Steele believes the 27-year-old will find success at another club.

“Adam has got to go and play,” he said. “His attitude and his professionalism have been terrific but he is at the stage of his career where he has got to go and play.

“We have to look at it from Derby County’s point of view, but also Adam Legzdins’ point of view, too.

“But to do that, we have had to make sure that the rest of the goalkeeping department is in place.

“Nobody will have more pleasure than me when I turn on the Football League Show and I see him producing saves and winning games, because he deserves to.

“We wish him well and I think somebody is going to get a very good goalkeeper.”

Another departing player, Ben Davies, is reported to be closing in on a move to Sheffield United.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who is out of contract at Derby, had a spell on loan with the Blades during the 2013/14 campaign.

Davies is set to be reunited with former Rams boss Nigel Clough at Bramall Lane.

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