New Blue: Curtis Anderson

News of the first arrival on triple signing day was actually broken two days previously by Alan Nixon – a sure-fire sign that we are now a legitimately huge club. Anyway, here’s the first piece on our World Cup winner.


FeeFree
Length of contract1 year
PositionGoalkeeper
Age19
Former clubsCharlotte Independence (USA)
Professional appearances11
National teamEngland (19 caps U16-U19)

England’s 2017 U17 World Cup-winning squad included some now familiar names: Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, since capped three times by the senior team; Manchester City prodigy and now regular Phil Foden; Rhian Brewster of Liverpool, a breakout star on loan at Swansea last season; Emile Smith-Rowe, who’s already scored three goals for the Arsenal first team; and Morgan Gibbs-White, who has 33 Premier League apperances for Wolves to his name and has just joined Swansea on loan for 2020/21. And between the sticks: our new ‘keeper.

Anderson – then in the Man City academy, where he’d moved from Blackpool at the age of 11 for £15,000 (!), his parents having relocated the family to within catchment of the big North West clubs – saved and scored a penalty in the Young Lions’ quarter-final shootout win over Japan and played in six of England’s games on their path to glory in India (he missed only the dead rubber group match against Iraq). Just under 18 months later, though, the Barrow-born glovesman made the ostensibly unorthodox switch to US second tier outfit Charlotte Independence for his first taste of senior football. A collapsed move to Blackburn lit the fuse.

“I was due to go … and the deal seemed to be done on deadline day, but for some reason, it all fell through,” Anderson told The Athletic. “[Charlotte] was kind of the only option I had. I took it because I was desperate to play games. If I didn’t, I would have been stuck at City training every day, and I’d be sick of that, to be honest.” The closest he got to a breakthrough at the Etihad was a short stint as no. 3 in 2018 with Claudio Bravo injured and fellow youngster Aro Muric out on loan.

Skip to 10:14 for the shootout

You can prematurely hype a player of Anderson’s age in any position, but particular care needs to be taken with goalkeepers – largely because they’re still in the crucial phase of their physical development then. Last season, only two ‘keepers aged 20 or younger – Southend’s Nathan Bishop and Leeds’ Illian Meslier – played ten or more games in the top four divisions in England. In other words (and this isn’t to say Anderson won’t become so), you’ve got to be something pretty special to make the grade – as evidenced by Bishop’s move to Manchester United and Leeds’ permanent signing of Meslier from French second tier outfit Lorient.

Anderson won’t go straight into our first team set-up. As indicated by the fact he hasn’t been given a squad number, he’ll start life at Wycombe in the B team, which is now up to three members: Anderson, Giles Phillips and, presumably, Cameron Yates (although you have to wonder if, by now, Yates would benefit from some first team action on loan in non-League). He’s not actually played any competitive football since April 2019 (a USL Championship loss to Louisville City, former club of one of our most random signings in recent times, Paco Craig).

“Curtis has fantastic potential and has done really well in training so far, earning this opportunity to show us what he can do and develop his game further over the coming season,” said Gareth Ainsworth upon Anderson’s unveiling. He’s come to right place and will no doubt benefit from the experience of Ryan Allsop and whoever else we bring in (we won’t go into our toughest ever season with only one senior ‘keeper on the books). He’s also made reference to the Independence’s direct approach; perhaps he’s part-Wycombised already… Either way, he’s an exciting one for the future – although who knows how near that future might be?


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