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Wiles-Richards reflects on positive year

From forcing his way into the first-team environment to winning the Professional Development League South, it’s been quite the journey for Harvey Wiles-Richards.

The goalkeeper joined the Robins from Bath City in 2020 and he’s earned the plaudits internally after training with Goalkeeper Coach Pat Mountain at the Robins High Performance Centre as well as with Ali Hines at the club's Academy.

He is learning from Dan Bentley, Max O’Leary and Jojo Wollacott and his progress has been rewarded with a two-year contract.

Speaking to Robins TV, Wiles-Richards said: “It’s been good. I came in last year and it’s been a good season, especially with the Under-23s we’re doing well. We won the league and the play-offs come next, so it’s been a good year for me so far.

“It was tough for me at the start. I was doing college three or four times a week and training with Bath, so the work side of it was the hardest part. Now I’m doing football full-time so that’s a bit of a shock for me but it’s been good. I’m learning every single day and I’m enjoying it."

🎥 Watch: Harvey Wiles-Richards full interview

 

“What is there not to learn? They (Bentley, O’Leary, Wollacott) are all brilliant keepers and the coaching staff are very positive and help me every single day. I’m learning every single day and when I do things wrong they help me and back me. Every day I’m improving and it’s a good group of lads with banter so it’s good.

“When you work you work but off the back of that you can have banter and enjoy your time. You’re training five or six times a week, so you have to enjoy it, relax as well. On the pitches we’re grafting, working hard and they do drill that into us.”

Wiles-Richards says he first donned the gloves as a young teenager and his past experience as an outfield player has been beneficial as he looks to replicate his keeper icon Manuel Neuer

He said: “Goalkeepers don’t usually develop until later so there’s plenty of time for me. It’s hard because you don’t get many injuries as a goalkeeper, so you have to bide your time. Hopefully it will come within the next two years but I’ve got a lot to do.

“Neuer is brilliant with his feet as a defensive, sweeper keeper. I look up to him, I play with a high line myself and I’ve learnt from him when he plays.”

Wiles-Richards, who was named in the matchday squad against Blackburn Rovers in March, is yet to make his first team debut but continues to prepare with the Robins’ final game of the season against Brentford this weekend (May 8th, 12.30pm).

He also has his eyes set on the PDL play-offs, with the young Robins to face a PDL North side in their knockout encounter next Friday (May 14th, KO TBC).

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