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First Year Sports Story

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

A former Forest Green Rovers and Swindon Town youth player has sustained a nasty head injury whilst playing for Liverpool.

Ex-Katherine Lady Berkeley’s School pupil, Jamie Stephens, was hit by an opposition player’s knee on his left eye whilst playing in goal for Liverpool’s academy side against Celtic’s youth team in Glasgow. But despite the hit he got up and continued to play until half time.

“I played an extra ten minutes and I even made some good saves. I was dazed and they knew there was something wrong” said Stephens.

The blow to the head caused the 17 year old to vomit several times during the half time break before he was rushed to hospital with a suspected fractured skull which turned out, fortunately, only to be heavy bruising.

He suffered mild concussion and was not able to fully open his left eye for a week. The keeper has been put on light training for the time being and has been left on the bench for recent matches.

 Stephens commented: “I can still train fully. I just don’t think they want to put me back into it straight away and I agree with that.”

He remains upbeat despite the circumstances and accepts it’s all part of the job. “That’s football for you, that’s being a goalkeeper, whacks all the time. To be a goalkeeper you’ve got to be mad. At the end of the day you’ve got to enjoy it, it’s your job.”

Despite the youngster saving a penalty earlier in the match Liverpool were eventually beaten 3-1 by the Glasgow side.

Stephens signed his first professional contract for the infamous Premier League club in August, on his 17th birthday, after moving from Swindon in March. The three year contract will keep him at the club until the age of 20. He previously played for a whole range of Gloucestershire clubs, the biggest being Forest Green.

His future appears bright and he is hoping to soon break through into the reserve team but says he wouldn’t mind going on loan for a season if required: “I’ll be happy to get some experience but for now I’m happy to stay at Liverpool, progress and become a better goal keeper, I’m not looking to go to any other clubs as these three years I look at as a time for development and I’d like to stay.”

Since his time at the Wiltshire club Stephens believes he has made big steps forward and has become a better goalkeeper. He said: “I think I’ve massively come on from Swindon. Technically now I feel more comfortable.” He added: “My jump has massively improved, I’m quicker, fitter, stronger and it can only benefit me.”  

Liverpool football club’s official website calls the former resident of Wotton–Under –Edge one of the “best young goalkeeping talents in the country.”

His rise from tiny local clubs to the top of English football has surprised even him: “Coming from rural upbringings to the top of football, it was scary. Everyone knows your name and you think, well to me it’s just my life.”