Daniel Bentley first Southend United goalkeeper in 36 years to start season with three league clean sheets (From Echo)
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Daniel Bentley first Southend United goalkeeper in 36 years to start season with three league clean sheets
DANIEL Bentley became the first Southend United goalkeeper in 36 years to start a league season with three successive clean sheets after shutting out Northampton Town at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Not since Neil Freeman in 1977 have the Shrimpers secured a trio of clean sheets in their first three games of a new campaign.
And Bentley, who saved an early penalty from Roy O’Donovan, was delighted to help Blues beat the Cobblers 2-0.
“The start we’ve made has been brilliant and the three clean sheets have made it even better, especially with this one coming against one of the fancied sides,” said the 20-year-old.
“We’re so regimented at the back right now and if we do our job properly then we give a platform for those going forward.
“We’re very organised and have a real desire to keep clean sheets which is why we aren’t conceding goals at the moment.”
But Blues’ defence was almost breached after just eight minutes when Will Atkinson brought Joe Widdowson down inside the area.
However, Bentley – who was regarded as a penalty saving specialist by former Southend manager Paul Sturrock – was able to keep out O’Donovan’s effort from 12 yards.
“I quite fancy myself saving penalties and, without wanting to sound big headed, I’m quite confident about keeping them out,” said Bentley.
“Thankfully I guessed the right way and was able to keep it out.
“There are certain things you look for and it paid off this time.
“We do some research on the penalty takers but it’s difficult at the moment because not many penalties have been given yet this season.”
Bentley’s latest penalty save also enhanced his growing reputation in the game.
The Wickford based shot-stopper, who came through the youth system at Roots Hall, has been backed to play for England by Blues boss Phil Brown.
But Bentley is keen to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“I’ve tried to stay away from that to be honest but of course it was unbelievable to hear,” said Bentley.
“He’s been there and done it at the top end of the game and for him to say that about me was very flattering.
“I’m not thinking about that to be honest though, I’m just thinking about doing well in every game but I’m glad he has that belief in me.”