Baptism of fire for ‘brilliant’ Leyton Orient goalkeeper Sam Sargeant, who will be better player after this difficult season
- Credit: Archant
The 19-year-old has rarely played behind a consistent back four, but has often kept score down for O’s and will no doubt improve following this experience
Omer Riza is hopeful Leyton Orient’s young talented goalkeeper Sam Sargeant will learn a great deal from the last three months.
The 19-year-old has been a regular for O’s since March 25 after initially enjoying a stint in the first-team back in February.
Sargeant’s displays throughout the campaign have earned him praise even if he has had to pick the ball out of his net several times.
The former Redbridge loanee once again showed his class on Saturday at Blackpool with a string of saves to keep the score to just 3-1.
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And looking ahead to next season, which starts in three months, as things stand Sargeant will be Orient’s number one in the National League.
Riza said: “Sam tipped one shot around the post and got down to a couple of others and Blackpool could have scored a couple more on another day.
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“He has done brilliant and it has been tough for him because he has had the whole world put on his shoulders, as we haven’t had many other options.
“Alex (Cisak) has been out a long while and Charlie Grainger has been out and I would have liked to have given Charlie a go, so we have had young Arthur (Janata) on the bench and that says it out.
“It is no disrespect to young Arthur, as he is a great little goalkeeper, but he is just not ready, yet I think ‘Sarg’ has been immense this season and he will definitely learn from this experience.”
What has not helped Sargeant has been the numerous changes made in front of him by Danny Webb and more recently Riza.
After playing a handful of times during the first-half of the campaign, the teen got his chance following the appointment of Webb.
During the seven games Sargeant played in February, Myles Judd, Nicky Hunt, Tom Parkes, Yvan Erichot, Teddy Mezague, Michael Clark, Callum Kennedy and Sandro Semedo all lined up in defence.
A similar pattern has continued since the south Londoner returned between the sticks on March 25.
Sargeant started O’s last eight games, but never played behind a consistent defence or a consistent formation.
Both Webb and Riza had their hands tied in terms of player selection due to injury and suspension issues.
Therefore Sargeant’s introduction into Orient’s first-team has not been helped by a lack of consistency in the back four.
It is hard enough for any young goalkeeper to take his opportunity in the Football League, let alone when you play in front of a different defence every week.
Despite the aforementioned problems, Sargeant has demonstrated his potential and often kept the score down for O’s.
It has been a baptism of fire for the former Millwall youngster, but he will be a much better player following this experience.