QPR youngster Joe Walsh has been called up to an England Goalkeeping Development Camp at St George’s Park.
The 19-year-old shotstopper, who joined the R’s in January from Gillingham, will have the opportunity to showcase his potential to the national team during a three-day stay between 19th and 21st April.
The camp, which has been running for over a decade, is designed for young players to develop areas of their game and experience how the national team prepare for international football.
Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Joe Hart and Dean Henderson are notable former attendees, and QPR Goalkeeping Coach Gavin Ward told www.qpr.co.uk: “We are all delighted for Joe to receive an invite to the training camp.
“He is a smashing lad who works hard every day. He is very inquisitive, always asking questions, and that’s something I like and encourage.
“This training camp is a fantastic opportunity for Joe to learn, as well as show his potential.”
Ward, who has been at QPR since 2016, played a major role in Walsh’s arrival at the club but says the efforts of the Board and Les Ferdinand were critical to getting it across the line amid Premier League interest.
And Ward feels Walsh’s decision to turn down the opportunity to join a top-flight club is a good indicator of the youngster’s desire to develop his game.
“We are always keeping an eye on young goalkeepers, looking at who is coming through,” Ward explained.
“Like everyone, we want to be one step ahead and that means bringing players in who can develop in time.
“Joe came on our radar quite some time ago, it was my colleague Erbil Bozkurt who initially identified him.
“I watched him play for Gillingham against Arsenal’s U21s in the EFL Trophy last year and he impressed me - he was very mature, very calm.
“He had all the attributes we look for.
“There were opportunities for him to join Premier League clubs but he wanted to see a clear pathway to first-team football, and that’s something that really worked in our favour.
“Look at Joe Lumley and Seny Dieng – they both joined us as youngsters before going on to make a lot of first-team appearances here.
“In that respect, the club sold itself.
“Les spent time talking with Joe too, and I know that meant a lot to him - and the Board didn’t hesitate in supporting us, which is fantastic.”
Ward also revealed Lumley was a key part of the process. Having spent a month on loan at the Gills last season, he had worked with Walsh and was in a position to give a reference on him.
“Lumers couldn’t speak highly enough of him,” Ward explained, “and since he has come in, he has done great. Just like Murphy Cooper, who is another young keeper we have, Joe is dedicated and focused.
“I am sure the training camp will be a great experience for him.”