Jussi Jaaskelainen Stephen Henderson
Age: 37 Age: 24
Height: 1.9m Height: 1.9m
Nationality: Finnish Nationality: Irish
Previous Clubs: Bolton Wanderers Previous Clubs: Bristol City,Portsmouth
Jussi or Hendo? Which one is going to win the race for the starting spot in Big Sam’s eleven?
Ever since the departure of cult figure Robert Green to London rivals Queens Park Rangers over the summer. West Ham have bought in two goalkeepers to compete for the number one jersey, but which shot stopper will Allardyce go for?
Jussi Jaaskelainen, a free transfer from Sam Allardyce’s old club Bolton Wanderers has brought with him an abundance of Premier League experience by amassing nearly 400 PL games in 10 years. He was a bit part player in Bolton’s demise to the championship last season by playing only 18 games for the trotters. He has played 56 times for his nation Finland and he will bring his age and experience to what is a group of young goalkeepers at the club.
Stephen Henderson, was initially bought in on loan in January 2012 from cash-strapped Portsmouth until the end of the season with the option of making it permanent. Allardyce decided to take up the option of the permanent deal and hence signed a three year deal this summer, Despite not having played a competitive game for the hammers yet. He has been capped 8 times at under 21 level for the Republic of Ireland. He is somewhat an unknown quantity due to his lack of matches but Allardyce must have seen enough of him to offer him a deal and compete with Jussi for the starting position.
In my opinion its too close to call at this moment in time, Jussi obviously brings with him a wealth of PL experience which could prove crucial over the season but he is in his twilight stage of his career. Henderson like i said in the paragraph above is an unknown quantity and has no PL experience but being young and hungry he would be improving all the time and could become a really good goalkeeper. Between them both its a nice blend of youth and experience. Obviously we have to look to the future which is Henderson where as Jaaskelainen is still a very good goalkeeper at this level and would be an able deputy should Henderson get injured. Henderson needs to develop at this level and the only way he is going to do this is by playing games. I quite like Stoke City’s way of rotating their goalkeepers where they both play roughly half a season each give or take. Theres comparison’s with West Ham by having Thomas Sorensen, who is still a Danish international and competent at this level who is at the back end of his career and you have Asmir Begovic, who is still up and coming and has shown a lot of promise. Begovic would play the lions share of PL games and Sorensen would play a handful of PL games but all of the cup competitions. If West Ham could strike up something similar i would be very happy. The wise bet would be for Jaaskelainen to start the season in goal due to the importance of the first 10-15 games back in the PL and Henderson as the season goes on will gradually get a look in.