Barber Pays Tribute To Jussi

  • August 03, 2009 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's goalkeeping coach Fred Barber has paid a glowing tribute to Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Barber was at the Reebok when Colin Todd signed Jaaskelainen in 1997, and believes the 34-year-old has developed into one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

"He was a very different player then," Barber is quoted as saying in The Bolton News.

"When he came to the club he hadn't played in much wet weather.

"In Finland he played in snow and they trained indoors, so when he first arrived in England his kicking was erratic.

"I remember one coach, who now works elsewhere at another Premier League club, turned round to me once and said he'd cost me my job.

"I thought that was a bit unfair at the time but I believed in Jussi and we worked hard on the areas we thought we needed to. We even brought a specialist kicking coach in to pick his brains on how he could improve.

"When he first came he was about fourth or fifth choice goalkeeper, so he has come a long, long way.

"There have been times when he has been in and out of the team, and times when he has had to rough it but those things have made him stronger and what I believe to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League."

The Finland international celebrates his testimonial against Hibernian on Saturday and Barber is proud of what Jaaskelainen has achieved.

"He deserves it," he said. "There's a line that you have to draw to keep your professionalism in my job because if he's having a bad time, you can't ignore it.

"I'm very proud he's been recognised by the club and it's typical he's chosen local charities to benefit.

"I don't think any goalkeeper in the whole Premier League has been as consistent as Jussi in the last few years and I hope the Bolton fans come out and support him on Saturday."

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Pos Team Pld Pts
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20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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