Former Scotland boss Alex McLeish has praised Everton for their signing of Asmir Begovic, hailing the experienced shot-stopper as a ‘safe pair of hands’.
Recruiting a backup goalkeeper to deputise for England no. 1 Jordan Pickford was a key transfer objective that has been fulfilled following the expiration of Robin Olsen’s loan spell.
Begovic joined the club on an initial 12-month deal, with the club retaining the option to extend Begovic’s deal by a further year.
His pre-season debut in an Everton shirt got off to a flying start following a series of penalty shootout heroics, including a match-winning save and a well-struck spot kick of his own.
McLeish insisted that Everton have recruited a top-quality backup goalkeeper with experience reading the game masterfully.
Speaking to Football Insider, the ex-tactician hailed the acquisition of Begovic:
“It’s that strategy of getting a number two who knows his way about the Premier League penalty boxes,” McLeish declared.
“That’s not from a striker’s perspective, that’s from the perspective of saving it. He knows the game inside out position-wise.
“It’s amazing these older boys are getting this wee niche. It’s become a bit of par for the course over the last 10, 15 years.
“Some goalkeepers have come in and never really even played a game for the two years of a contract or whatever.
“If you’re called upon, you know you’re talking about safe pair of hands coming in.”
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With 252 Premier League appearances to his name, Begovic far from a novice between the posts.
His heroics will habilitate him into the hearts of the Everton faithful and will go a long way in persuading fans he can step up to the goalkeeping mantle if called upon.
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In a similar manner to how Olsen challenged Pickford for starts, Begovic will be hoping to retain a similar capacity.