So near... now Reece is so far
PUBLISHED: 13:06 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:34 24 August 2010
GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
By Ben Kosky MOST players look back on a 3-0 defeat with regret, but Reece Crowther has even more reason to rue that scoreline a year later. For the majority, QPR s capitulation at Norwich in April 2008 has faded discreetly into the record books, but to t
By Ben Kosky
MOST players look back on a 3-0 defeat with regret, but Reece Crowther has even more reason to rue that scoreline a year later.
For the majority, QPR's capitulation at Norwich in April 2008 has faded discreetly into the record books, but to the young goalkeeper it represents unfulfilled ambition.
Crowther came tantalisingly close to making his first-team debut for the Rs that day - in fact the coaching staff hurriedly ordered him to warm up as they thought first choice keeper Lee Camp was about to be sent off.
But the red card was shown to Damion Stewart instead, Crowther returned to his seat on the bench and opportunity would never knock on his door again before Rangers released him a few weeks ago.
Now the 20-year-old is bidding to kick-start his career Down Under in the A-League - but is still determined to make his name in English football long-term.
"Everyone had thought Campy was going off and that night I couldn't help thinking 'that was my chance, now it's gone'," Crowther told the Times.
"That's the one thing I'll always be thinking back on, that I didn't pull on the QPR jersey in a competitive fixture. It's still bugging me that I never played in the first team and I feel I've got a score to settle.
"The game's really started to grow in Australia and I'm going out there to help build up the A-League and get experience, but I'd like to come back to the English league eventually, without a doubt.
"This is a new challenge. I had some good keepers ahead of me at QPR and it's sometimes harder to break through when you've come up via the youth team."
Both Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide FC have offered Crowther a trial period and the keeper - who was born in San Diego but grew up in Australia - hopes he will finally be able to call himself a genuine number one.
During his three years at Loftus Road, Crowther found himself behind the likes of Simon Royce, Paul Jones, Lee Camp, Radek Cerny and Jake Cole in the pecking order.
But, despite the frequent changes of manager in that period, Crowther feels the knock-on effect of working under many different specialist goalkeeping coaches was actually beneficial.
He recalled: "Tony Roberts was the coach when I arrived, he'd been the QPR goalkeeper for years and then we had Ed de Goey, who had so many caps for Holland.
"Mark Bosnich was one of my heroes when I was growing up and Tim Flowers had been an England international. So it was good for me to get so many insights into keepers who had played at a high level.
"In a specialist position like goalkeeper, it's important to try different methods and see what works for you, and I learned different things from all of them.
"Of course it's tough with the manager changing all the time, but it was out of my control, the same as every other player. I could only get my head down and try to impress whoever came in."
Crowther didn't quite manage to catch anyone's eye in that never-ending queue at Loftus Road - but he may yet be back one day in the future to show QPR what they missed.
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