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Maidstone United in safe hands with on-loan Norwich City goalkeeper Dan Barden

On-loan Norwich goalkeeper Dan Barden brings Championship experience to Maidstone United.

The Welshman, 21, was handed his chance in the first team as the Canaries won promotion to the Premier League in the 2020/21 season.

Dan Barden is on loan at Maidstone from Championship club Norwich. Picture: Steve Terrell
Dan Barden is on loan at Maidstone from Championship club Norwich. Picture: Steve Terrell

Injuries to Tim Krul and Michael McGovern opened the door and Barden let nobody down with his performances.

Norwich drew 1-1 with QPR and won 2-1 at Cardiff with the youngster between the sticks, and he kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Coventry.

It was priceless experience so early in his career, with Barden’s only regret that matches were played behind closed doors during the Covid pandemic.

“I was third-choice goalkeeper at the start of the season and with injuries to Tim Krul and Michael McGovern I ended up getting in the team,” said Barden.

“It was a period around December, two years ago, and I ended up playing a few games.

“It was different with no fans there, because of Covid, but I loved it. The games went well.

“I was quite young at the time and I got chucked in and sometimes that’s the best thing for a young goalkeeper, to get chucked in and try and do the best you can in those situations.

“It was a good season, we got promoted as well. It was just a shame there were no fans there.”

Norwich are once again challenging for a place in the Premier League.

They’re one of the biggest clubs outside the top flight, with a fanbase to match, and they look after their young players.

Barden hopes to find himself part of a Premier League squad again next season, with Dean Smith’s side currently fifth in the Championship.

“I’ve been there four or five years now,” he said. “They’ve been a great club for me.

“On a personal note, last year they helped me when I was having problems off the pitch and stuff like that.

“They were massive for me then. It’s a great club and they’ve done well in the last few years with the promotions.

“We’ve got good enough players and we should definitely be a Premier League club for the size it is, and the fans deserve it.

“Norwich have been a club who play young players. They’ve not been afraid to do that in the last few years. I’m someone who’s benefited from that philosophy.

“They want to encourage their goalkeepers to go and play, so there’s a few young keepers there at the moment and we’re all trying to play and work our way up.”

Barden joined Maidstone on a month’s loan last week, making his debut in the 3-2 National League defeat at Dorking.

An outstanding one-on-one save looked like clinching the points only for Dorking to score twice in injury time.

But there was a first clean sheet for the keeper on Tuesday in the 2-0 FA Trophy Third-Round win over Worthing.

“We all thought we were going to get a result at Dorking,” said Barden.

“It was just a lack of concentration at the end but we did well to come back here and get a result in the FA Trophy.

“That’s what we needed after last week and it’s nice to get a clean sheet.

“It’s been good coming here.The boys and the gaffer and the staff have made it easy to settle in.”

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