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Whitley moves to South Shields on loan

31st January 2020

Young goalkeeper Ryan Whitley has joined Northern Premier League leaders South Shields on a one-month loan deal.

The promising ‘keeper played five times in the National League North in the 2018-19 season after making his senior debut against Southport, but has found himself behind summer signing Pete Jameson in the pecking order this campaign.

The 20-year-old saved two spot-kicks on Tuesday night as City beat Whitby Town on penalties to reach the North Riding Senior Cup semi-finals.

Whitley’s only other first team appearance this season came in the same competition, as he kept a clean sheet in the 5-0 win over Pickering Town.

Manager Steve Watson believes that both Whitley and York will benefit massively from the temporary move to the North East.

“I think he needs to go and play games, for himself and for us as well,” Watson said.

“If we need to call him into action later in the season, in big games, it’ll have done him the world of good to have played a good month with a really good side, in a good set-up, doing well in the league.”

“It’s probably an ideal chance to get him back for the end of the season for the important games.”

Watson admitted that he couldn’t promise Whitley playing time over the remainder of the season, and explained that there is a recall clause included in his contract with South Shields.

“They have a lot of games this month as well so hopefully he’ll get a load of football that we can’t guarantee him at the moment,” he said.

“Obviously it’ll only work if we’ve both agreed to a ’24-hour call-back’ if there is anything, touchwood there isn’t, but if anything does happen to Pete [Jameson] in the meantime we could get him back for the very next game.”

“I suppose the only real risk is the actual game itself if anything does happen, but Pete’s virtually played every game this season so we think it’s a good chance to get him (Whitley) out [on loan].

 Watson reiterated his desire to keep Whitley at the club for the foreseeable future, and branded the goalkeeping options at York as some of the National League North’s best.

“He deserves to go out and play, he’s a very good keeper,” he said.

“We’ve probably got two of the best keepers in the league and he’s going to go through this season only playing maybe half a dozen competitive games if we don’t do this, and he is somebody we want to keep hold of in the future – he’s a York lad.”

Watson highlighted the positive impact of other loan spells this term, and also pointed out how Whitley’s move could benefit other young ‘keepers at the club.

 “This is why loans work,” he explained.  “We’ve had players go out on loan and come back much sharper, much better.

“It’s happened all over football really, and it’ll give young Jake [Teale] or Lucas [Martin] a chance maybe to sample matchday experience, first team matchday experience which will be great for them as well.”



Article by Oliver Green.

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