Swindon Town Head Coach Luke Williams has hailed Tyrell Belford’s professionalism and believes the stopper is a real credit to the football club.
Belford has been the toast of The County Ground ever since Saturday after earning his side a share of the spoils in a 0-0 draw away at Coventry City.
The 21-year-old – who actually began his career with the Sky Blues – was impressive throughout at the Ricoh Arena despite having little to do, saving his best work until last.
With the game deep in stoppage time, Coventry looked set to inflict last gasp heartbreak on Town when second-half sub Darius Henderson latched onto Sam Ricketts’ pinpoint ball into the box before unleashing a venomous half-volley towards goal, only for Belford to fly through the air and tip the effort over the bar to ensure the contest ended all-square.
It was only the former Liverpool apprentice’s fourth start of the season, which came as a direct result of first-choice stopper Lawrence Vigouroux being ruled out with a dead leg.
Belford’s last outing prior to the weekend came way back in September 2015 – with 26 straight unused substitute appearances following that cameo – and the youngster has had to make do with playing second fiddle to the likes of Wes Foderingham and Vigouroux for much of his three-season stay at SN1.
But Belford is well known for keeping his head down and just getting on with it during training, and Williams opted to shower his second-string keeper with praise in the wake of Saturday’s heroics.
“The boys will all talk extremely highly, as will the staff, of Tyrell because every single day he’s prepared and he’s ready and he knows his chances of being in the team are limited,” Williams told BBC Wiltshire.
“He’s been in that situation for a couple of seasons now, so it is huge credit and it really is a sign of how professional he is that he can come in and play at a drop of a hat, and then also be alert right until the death and make sure we keep the point.
“He watched everything that season (2014/15) with Wes (Foderingham), made a few appearances and he’s seen it all.
“He understands that it’s important to the outfield players that he tries to join in with the ball at his feet, and I think he showed (on Saturday) that when he’s got the time he can see a pass and make the pass.”