DIMI Konstantopoulos deserves the chance to be a number one goalkeeper in the Premier League, his former captain at Hartlepool United says.
Micky Barron, Pools skipper during the four years that the Konstantopoulos played for the club in the mid-2000s, wants Middlesbrough to gain promotion to the Premier League to fulfil his former team-mate’s aspirations.
He’s playing regularly in the Championship and he deserves his chance in the Premier League.
Boro go into tomorrow’s Championship play-off second leg with Brentford holding a 2-1 advantage, knowing that avoiding defeat at the Riverside will see them one Wembley game away from ending their six-year top-flight hiatus.
Barron, a Boro graduate in the 1990s, says that the topic of which squad member of the Pools squad a decade ago would reach the highest plains never came up in conversation.
But the Greek shot-stopper warrants the chance to deny Wayne Rooney and co, should the opportunity arise.
“He’s playing regularly in the Championship and he deserves his chance in the Premier League,” Barron said.
“He’s made a lot of clean sheets this season and he has earned that right.
“The lads knew which players had the better chance of going further and Dimi was in that group along with (Adam) Boydy, Joel (Porter), Ritchie (Humphreys) and one or two others,” he said of the Pools camp.
“We knew that if some day someone came in and offered them the chance to play at a higher level, we would have taken that.
“And we wanted that because it was proof that we had good footballers in the team and we we’re doing something right.”
Konstantopoulos has made two errors in recent weeks that have led to him conceding – vacating his goal at Fulham for a last-minute corner and a miskick against Brentford.
“The mistakes don’t surprise me. He had a clanger in him,” a candid Barron admitted.
“He’d do something and you’d think ‘what is he doing?’ but then he’d make up for it with an amazing save.
“You’ve got to take his mishaps lightly because he makes a lot of crucial saves.
“He might drop crosses that lead to a goal or miskick but he’ll atone for that – look at the Brentford game when he made an out-of-this-world save (from Jonathan Douglas’ header) not long after his error.
“Consistency-wise he’s the best keeper I’ve played with.
“What makes Dimi stand out is that he makes saves when it matters, in the real big moments, when it’s 0-0 or 1-0. That’s when you judge a really good goalkeeper.”