Maynard-Brewer pressing for a starting role at the Addicks

Maynard-Brewer pressing for a starting role at the Addicks

Posted on January 21, 2021 in 'News'

Former ECU Joondalup goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer is closing in on a league debut for English League One club Charlton Athletic after becoming the club’s number two keeper this season.

Maynard-Brewer swapped the Jacks for south-east London in 2015 as a teenager and has spent the past five years working his way up the ranks at the Addicks. Two years ago, the keeper made his senior debut in a 1-0 EFL Trophy loss against Swansea City Under-21s. This season, he has already featured in two EFL Trophy matches. With Ben Amos Charlton’s first-choice shot-stopper, the youngster has regularly sat on the bench as his backup and is close to a first team start.

Maynard-Brewer, who turns 22 in June, is yet to feature in an official Football League or Australian youth international match – the latter due to red-tape – but key officials for club and country rate him highly and believe a breakthrough is nigh. Two months ago, Maynard-Brewer made his FA Cup debut, weeks after signing a contract extension until 2023, and many people believe he has a big future in the game. “I’ve had experience in (EFL Trophy) games, but this felt like my proper debut, Plymouth (Argyle) put up strong side. It was good game to be part of, intense,” Maynard-Brewer told Optus Sport.

“We lost one-nil but I was happy with my performance. Three days later we played Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy, another League team – the first time in a long time I’ve started on a Tuesday, good to get two games in such close proximity. “Important I keep training hard and putting myself up for selection. I get confidence that I can step in if I get a chance for those league games. The main focus for me is breaking into Charlton team, the way to do that is improve every day and work as hard as I can with Ben Amos and keeper coach Andy Marshall. Next few years, in the medium to long term, I want to be an established Championship or Premier League keeper, that is the ultimate goal. I want to play in the Premier League, 100 per cent.”

Maynard-Brewer isn’t the only Jacks player to don a Addicks goalkeeper shirt, with former player and keeper coach Andy Petterson playing 85 games for the club between 1094 to 1999. Petterson admits the 190cm keeper is nearing the stage where he must play regularly, but cites Nick Pope – the Burnley and England keeper who at the same age had four loan deals to Conference clubs and had made just one appearance for Charlton – as the ideal role model.

“He just needs to put his head down and work hard and he will get an opportunity. We take Nick Pope as example and I put him into that category – if he gets an opportunity, he can emulate something like that,” Petterson told Optus Sports. “When he (Pope) first went there he was third or fourth choice and went on loan numerous times. A few years later he came into the first team and within six months he was sold to Burnley and not long after got into the England setup.

“Being number two Ashley is experiencing what’s happening on matchday and what is expected of him. He’s just waiting for that call, hopefully it comes soon. He’s really enjoying himself; he’s got a good personality and got the right attitude and wants to crack it. Dillon Phillips was there and won player of the year at Charlton but after they got relegated, he moved to Cardiff and instead of buying another keeper, they had faith in Ashley being number two – that shows you they have a lot of faith and belief because that means you could be called into action at any stage.”

Petterson revealed that Maynard-Brewer had received several offers to return to the A-League, but believes he will reap the rewards of persisting in the cut-throat environment of English football. “He’s had opportunities to come back to the A-League and – in my opinion – the A-League will always be there,” says Petterson, who recently departed Indonesian Liga 1 champions Bali United due to Covid cuts. “Back in my day there were maybe 10 or so keepers in the UK. I’m not sure how many there are now, but not many are playing. The NSL wasn’t an option for us – you stayed and waited for your opportunity and not enough are doing that now.

“Now they get trial, don’t play and come back (to Australia) instead of staying and battling it out. I’m hoping for his sake, when he gets his chance, the team is doing well and he can do well and he should keep his place. It’s a hard one. He’s getting to that age where he needs to start playing regular football – for a goalkeeper to progress you need games. He has had some loan deals at fifth tier levels and done really well in those. He needs to be patient also.”

Maynard-Brewer admits Pettersen’s impact has been profound. “He was massive, I started training with him when I first came to ECU in the northern suburbs of Perth and took my training to next level. He has a good CV – played almost 100 games at Charlton and 50-odd at Portsmouth,” he said. “He opened the door for me at Charlton, got in contact with Charlton head scout and that’s how I got over.”

A delayed FIFA clearance and Charlton’s reluctance to release him cost him a chance to officially debut for the Young Socceroos in 2018, where he was set to compete for the No.1 shirt with James Delainov (now with Adelaide United), before a fixture change again robbed him of a chance to officially debut a year later, instead playing a friendly against a Qatari club side. With the Tokyo Olympics among the key upcoming internationals, the Olyroos and Socceroos are firmly on Maynard-Brewer’s hit-list. “Olympics, very much on radar, would be unreal experience to be part of. I just need to get myself in best situation to be part of that squad to travel to Tokyo,” Maynard-Brewer said. “Socceroos, yeah that’s the aim.”