Will Jaaskelainen : Stepping out of the Shadows
Fred Barber talks about Will Jaaskelainen; his development with Pro-SK and how the Bolton born youngster is working hard to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Pro-SK Director Fred Barber predicts a bright future for Will Jaaskelainen; the Bolton born youngster who is now making the grade at Crewe.
Like most sons and daughters, going into the family business can sometimes be a given. But what if your Dad’s a premiership legend with a name like Jaaskelainen? They’re certainly big shoes to fill.
“With a surname like mine, everyone knows who I am – or at least who my dad is. ” said Will. “When you’re young you don’t quite understand all the hype. He’s your Dad, the guy who’s on your back for not doing your homework. But I’m proud to follow him into the same trade. He didn’t tell me to be a goalkeeper. I decided, at a young age, that I wanted to play football like him, and he never saw any reason to stop me.”
“I’ve been coaching Will since he was 10. There’s a lot of expectation on him with a name like Jaaskelainen, but he’s his own man. He’s got everything in his locker to reach the top “
Barber said “Will started playing at grassroots for a local club. He got extra training at our Pro-SK Keeperschools in the evenings and went into the academy system. He’s gone through the program and had to progress like everyone else. I see some of the same characteristics in him that I saw in his dad. Jussi was very focused and driven and Will is the same. “
Following his release from Bolton Wanderers at the age of 18, Will reveals that he was all set to turn his back on English football and return to Finland with his family. Barber convinced the Jaaskelainen’s that their son still had a future and should allow him to train with Crewe. Barber believed that the driven stopper could still make the grade in the British game.
“I see it quite a lot “ said Fred. “The kids go into the system full of hope and aspirations. They give everything trying to secure a scholarship and at 18 their dreams are shattered when they get released. At Pro-SK we’re different. We make sure we’re there to pick them up – so they can start again “
Will did just that and Barbers predictions rang true with Jaaskelainen securing a permanent deal with the Railwaymen. He established himself as the number 1 choice at Gresty Road and Barber believes that if he continues to develop at the rate that he is, Will has a very bright future in the game.
And what about the Future – “ I look up to Kasper Schmeichel, and what he’s achieved by following in his father’s footsteps, and can only dream of doing as well as him,” said Jaaskelainen. “He’s not just the son of a famous father. His dad was one of the best goalkeepers in the world in his own right. ”
“Kasper didn’t start at the top – he gained experience in the lower leagues before he won the title at Leicester, which stood him in good stead. “
Barber said “I do think Will can go a long way in the game. He trains like his dad. He listens and wants to improve but he’s still got a long way to go. He’s also got the added expectation that comes with having a name like Jaaskelainen, but he’s his own man. I’m confident that Will has the personality to handle it, and can see that he’s already starting to step out of the shadows. ”
“His dad is very good with him. He’s coaching now but leaves him alone and doesn’t interfere with what we are trying to teach him here. Jussi said that I helped him to develop as a goalkeeper and trusts me to do the same for his son. That is a major compliment and hopefully we can continue to help Will improve and to achieve his dreams. “