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Championship new boys Sheffield United have struck a deal with Premier League champions Chelsea, to bring young goalkeeper Jamal Blackman to the club on loan for the coming season.
The Blades did extremely well in the transfer market last summer, something which led directly to them walking away with the League One title and so the step back up to this level should be taken in their stride. That said, new further signings were needed and Blackman is a good arrival for them. Here is what we know about him so far:
Born in Croydon town in South London, Blackman has spent his whole football career with Chelsea having joined their academy back in 2006 at just 12 years old.
After his ascension to the full ranks at Stamford Bridge, albeit on the fringes of them, Blackman was sent on loan to gain experience at Middlesbrough, Ostersunds and Wycombe Wanderers last year, where he played 42 league games.
He has improved year on year to this point and is ready for the step up to Championship football now, before hopefully making a Premier League debut in the not too distant future.
Blackman is 6f 6in tall and as such is expected to command his area, something which has proven a tad difficult to do so far, given his inexperience.
As time goes on, he will improve and is not expected to reach his peak for a long time yet. Although he needs to perhaps shout more as he gets older, his physical presence is indeed commanding and so from opposition set pieces or even penalty kicks, he provides quite a barrier in front of goal.
As mentioned above, his physical stature means he is someone who will improve all the time and so to have even reached Championship level by the age of 23 is a real achievement for a goalkeeper like him.
As long as there are no high profile disasters, this season should be the making of him and if he should make it to Premier League level next term, he would actually be ahead of schedule. He has a very big future in the game and, although it doesn’t seem fair sometimes, his natural attributes will see him to a good living anyway.
As is the case with horse racing or basketball, simply being a certain size can fire you to the top of the queue in the sport and in Blackman’s case, any honing of his skills to compliment his 6f 6in frame would mean you having a pretty decent ‘keeper on your hands.