Sam Walker had a somewhat rough first half of the season, but after a January move to Colchester United, he's been in fantastic form for his new club. Today his manager had some praise the Chelsea youngster, making the following comments:
"Sam does what he says on the tin. He’s dominant in his area, which is something we needed, that physical change, even though Mark (Cousins) did well when he played."
"Sam’s acquitted himself well, coming from a Premier League club. And it’s the right moment for him, because although he had done a couple of loans before, he was young then."
"Of course he’s still young, but he’s now already played about 70 odd games, and so is just a season away from reaching 100, at the age of just 21."
"The timing was right for us to take him. So far its worked well, and Chelsea have monitored him all the time."
Walker will be an interesting name to watch this summer, as the Chelsea goalkeeping situation isn't very clear. Both of Chelsea's backup keepers are out of contract in June, while Walker remains on the books until June 2014*. As a 21-year old, he won't be eligible to leave (in England or Wales) on a free at the end of his deal, so there isn't a ton of pressure to extend the big youngster or risk losing him for nothing.
*He extended his contract last February
While it would be a big step from the lower leagues to backing up Petr Cech, the ability to recall Thibaut Courtois in the event of serious injury might also make that scenario more reasonable. If the club aren't overly concerned that his development might stall, he probably isn't much of a step down from what we currently have available. That said, Walker may well wish to continue to get starts, as he's quickly establishing himself as a decent young keeper.
Regardless of what the future holds, it's always good to hear that our youngsters are impressing their managers. Hopefully he keeps up the good work, as Colchester are quickly distancing themselves from the relegation zone largely due to his impressive performances in net.