Neil Etheridge: Walsall sign new goalkeeper on two-year deal

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge
Neil Etheridge started his youth career at Chelsea

League One side Walsall have made their second international signing in 24 hours by bringing in Philippines keeper Neil Etheridge on a two-year deal.

Following the acquisition of Cyprus defender Jason Demetriou, Etheridge, 25, fills the gap left by Richard O'Donnell's move to Wigan Athletic.

The ex-Chelsea trainee, who has made just 20 Football League appearances, was released by Charlton in May.

"We had a number of good options but Neil stood out," said boss Dean Smith.

Etheridge's international credentials
Londoner Neil Etheridge represented England at Schoolboy level before winning the first of his 44 caps for the Philippines in 2008 while still a Fulham Academy player. He has since also played for Charlton Athletic, Bristol Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and Oldham Athletic.

"He ticks all the boxes in age, room for development and experience at this level and above," said Smith.

He's an extremely driven young man who wants to be successful. These are the characteristics we're looking for.

"Neil will compete with Craig MacGillivray for a first-team place. They will both push each other on, exactly the kind of competition that we want."

Etheridge, who began his professional career at Fulham, added: "The faith that the gaffer and Neil Cutler (Walsall goalkeeping coach) have shown in me means a lot. Now is the time to get my head down and work hard.

"I have gained plenty of international experience in front of big crowds, but I've not played as many league games as I'd have liked. I intend to rectify that here."

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