Keeper close to Welsh call

Chris Maxwell
Chris Maxwell
  • Town keeper was in provisional squad of 40
  • Backed by boss as ‘one of best in League One’
  • Hennessey is first choice for Dragons

Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell is in the thoughts of Wales manager Chris Coleman despite once again being forced to wait for his full international call-up.

Maxwell just missed out on a chance to join up with the national squad ahead of the crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Belgium in Cardiff on Friday week.

The decision has left some close to Town asking what Maxwell must do to earn his chance with the Dragon, who he represented as an Under-21.

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander revealed Maxwell was in a provisional squad for the clash but made it clear the 24-year-old keeper must remain patient.

Alexander, a former Scotland international, didn’t question Coleman’s selection but made it clear his keeper was more than capable, should he get the call.

“Chris was superb for us last season,” said Alexander.

He’s been fantastic for the past 18 months, ever since coming into the team.

Graham Alexander

“He’s been fantastic for the past 18 months, ever since coming into the team.

“We had the fourth-best defence in the division last season and Chris played a massive part in that.

“He’s one of the best goalkeepers in this division, without a doubt.”

Crystal Palace stopper Wayne Hennessey is undoubtedly the Wales number one but the position of understudy is well within Maxwell’s grasp.

Currently preferred to Maxwell are Danny Ward, a Liverpool player in name but one who has played the majority of his football on loan in League Two, while Owain Fon Williams has recently parted company with relegated Tranmere Rovers.

At 24, Maxwell has time on his side and Alexander urged his keeper to remain patient.

“If he keeps going as he is, the call will come. I don’t know a lot about the players who are in there now.

“But I know it is hard to break in. As a manager, you’ve got your group and if you’re happy with that you might not want to bring somebody new in.

“But we know Chris is in their thoughts. He was part of a provisional squad.

“He’s missed out this time but there are going to be plenty more opportunities.”

Alexander is under no doubt his keeper can play at a much higher level.

“He’s got a lot of talent,” said the Fleetwood boss.

“We know what Chris is cabable of and he’s certainly got the ability to play at a higher level than he is now, including on the international stage.”

Maxwell joined Fleetwood from Wrexham in the summer of 2012

With Scott Davies the first pick for then manager Micky Mellon, Maxwell was forced to bide his time.

He was loaned back to the Welsh club and played for them in both the FA Trophy and Conference play-off finals at Wembley. He returned to Town when Graham Alexander took over at Highbury but was unable to dislodge Davies. A second loan spell followed, this time at Cambridge United.

An impressive 19 clean sheets while with the Abbey Stadium club – a record which helped the Us to promotion that season– turned the head of Alexander.

And with Davies struggling for form, Maxwell was thrown into the Fleetwood side for an away fixture at Wycombe.

He has been an ever-present for Town since, helping the club to promotion and securing the keeper’s jersey for the club’s debut League One campaign, in which Town finished seventh.