QPR’s Lumley looks at days growing up idolising former Toon goalkeeper Given
PUBLISHED: 16:09 19 May 2020
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Whether football, film or music was your thing, we all had something or someone who took pride of place on our wall – be it a dedicated pull-out from a matchday programme or cut-out from a magazine or newspaper.
QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley was no different when it came to posters and, at the moment, he is getting a daily reminder of the goalkeeper who he used to adore watching.
Shortly before the government introduced lockdown measures at the end of March, the 25-year-old returned to his family home in Loughton, Essex.
When he creaked open his old bedroom door a few weeks back, the man who was first blue-tacked to his wall almost 15 years ago was still there.
For Lumley, that hero was Shay Given.
The former Republic of Ireland international made more than 600 appearances in senior club football, with 354 of those coming in the Premier League for Newcastle United.
And it was those days at Newcastle that sparked a young Lumley’s adoration as he and older brother Billy would spend hours in their back garden imitating Given’s saves.
“He just stood out from everyone else for me,” Lumley told the QPR website.
“I never supported Newcastle but there was just something about Shay Given that made me want to be like him.
“It was probably the way he moved around the goal and made the spectacular saves he did. Me and my brother used to smash footballs at each other as hard as we could and try to copy what he did.”
Now back where football began for him at his family home, Lumley has used the lockdown to take stock of his career to date and, in particular, the last two seasons.
Football started for him as soon as he could walk. It sounds very cliché, but according to his mother Jackie it’s completely true as Lumley added: “My mum always said when I took my very first steps I took two and then kicked a little ball!
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“I don’t know if she is telling porkies or not but she’s always said that. My nan backs her up, so I suppose I’ve got to believe her.”
By age six, he was playing for a local Sunday League team called Buckhurst Hill – on pitch as well as in goal – and by 10 he had settled between the sticks and followed in the footsteps of older brother Billy in being scouted as a goalkeeper by Tottenham Hotspur.
He remained with the north London club until being released at 16, having not been offered a full-time scholarship, and still cites that disappointment as a big moment in his life.
“They rang my dad and told him I was going to be released. I got in from school and he told me in our front room. It was hard but I learned a lot from that, although I didn’t know it at the time,” he said.
“It taught me how to bounce back from a set-back. Some people can go into their shell after something like that but it really motivated me to improve.”
Young or old, you need to deal with setbacks if you are going to make it in professional football.
Lumley enjoyed an impressive 2018/19 – keeping 16 clean sheets in 46 matches – having worked his way up to become the Rangers’ number one. But this term has been more of a challenge, as 22 appearances have yielded just the two shut-outs.
Although there have been some good moments, by Lumley’s own admission there are a few he has been disappointed with.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster and I’d be the first to say I don’t think I’ve been good enough this season. It’s been tough for me but I can’t change my mistakes now, I can only try to improve,” he said.
“I know I’ve probably cost us games this season and that’s been hard to take. I’m still a young goalkeeper and I’m trying to not necessarily see all of my setbacks from this season as bad things.
“Instead, I hope they are things that I can learn from to make me a better player for QPR in the future.”
Lumley’s determination to improve himself is obvious and he is using this time back in his old bedroom to study his performances from the last two seasons.
As well as that, loans spells in his younger years at AFC Hayes, Accrington Stanley, Morecambe, Bristol Rovers, Stevenage and Blackpool further highlight his mentality of always wanting to better himself and improve.
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