Advice from one of the most decorated goalkeepers in the business is spurring youngster Joe Fryer on to become Hartlepool United’s No 1.
The Middlesbrough loanee looks set to make his Pools starting XI bow tomorrow when Dave Jones’ men travel to Luton Town, with Adam Bartlett likely to be sidelined with injury.
His record speaks for itself. He has won everything. His trophy cabinet must be amazing.
And while Fryer might be lacking in experience, he is not lacking in confidence.
A lot of that is to do with the fact he has been learning from the best back at Boro with World Cup, European Championship and multiple Champions League winner Victor Valdes taking him under his wing.
“He always shares his wisdom,” Fryer said of the former Spain, Barcelona and Manchester United man’s influence on his career so far.
“His record speaks for itself. He has won everything. His trophy cabinet must be amazing.
“He has had a fantastic career with Barcelona and Spain, as well as playing for Manchester United.
“He talks us young goalikeepers through games.
“He will talk about his game at the weekend and he will go through what he has seen of us and say what we have done well as well as what we must do better.
“You can learn off those kind of players.
“As a young player it would be stupid not to listen to what they say. They have the experience.”
Fryer continued: “On occasions I have had the chance to train with the firs-team but it is rare.
“It only tends to be when we have an injury or one of the first-team players is away on international duty.
“We are always seeing them.
“We don’t always train with them but they do always stop off and have a chat with us around the place.”
The 21-year-old, signed in the January window on a loan deal until the end of the season, has always been clear from day one that he was not coming to Hartlepool to sit on the bench.
Fryer is hungry for games at first-team level, having made his reserve bow against Mansfield last week.
“It’s all about getting in and around a first-team environment,” he said.
“I wanted to build my own experience. That way things can only get better.
“But I also have come to play games. I’ve really enjoyed being here. Now I want to take the experience passed on to me and put it into practice.”