Erwin Mulder has told Swansea City manager Graham Potter the goalkeeping gloves are off in his fight for a starting place with Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
Dutchman Mulder finally made his Swans debut in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Preston, 408 days after he joined the club from Heerenveen.
If patience is a virtue then Mulder must be approaching sainthood status. Not only was he in the shadow cast by Lukasz Fabianski, before the keeper was sold to West Ham earlier this summer, but he was also eclipsed by Swedish World Cup squad member Nordfeldt in the battle to be No.2.
Third choice goalkeeper at any club is a difficult job description, mostly involving training, patting others on the back, and sitting in the stands on match days. The 29-year-old’s prolonged gathering of his various bits and pieces before he replaced Nordfeldt after a quarter of the match may have been down to unfamiliarity.
But having kept a clean sheet with some impressive saves, Mulder wants to let it be known he intends to keep the current pecking order, even after Nordfeldt has recovered from his groin injury.
He had no explanation for the long delay to get on and insisted: “I am always confident about myself. I want to play and I wanted to go on when he was injured. That’s how it is.
“But I have had to wait a long time. It’s been tough. But you know when you are a second goalkeeper, it’s very, very tough.”
“I want to keep the jersey. You have to wait for the opportunity and take the chance when it comes along. Today was mine and I think I did well.
“I hope Kris is okay. That’s the most important thing. But I have shown the manager that I can play and I’m ready.
“Of course, it’s been tough. I came here to play. Last year, Lukasz played very well and Kristoffer is also a very good goalkeeper, so I had to wait.”
Among many strong saves, Mulder produced one key stop in the second-half from Lukas Nmecha just as Preston were pressing for an equaliser.
“It was a big save. He could’ve made it 1-1, but I did well to tip his shot over.”
Mulder wasn’t the only cygnet to become a Swan in the first Championship match at the Liberty Stadium as local boy Joe Rodon came through his debut at centre-back with flying colours.
Rodon, 20, was given his chance after the mass clear-out which followed relegation led to the sale of four other central defenders.
“I thought Joe Rodon did a fantastic job on his debut,” added Mulder.
“You know in the transfer window, people will come and go. That’s normal. But it’s given an opportunity for Joe now and today he did a fantastic job.”
Preston manager Alex Neil was irritated his side were not assertive enough from the start and their goalkeeper Declan Rudd admitted his boss was on the money.
“We are an experienced team, but age wise we are very, very young and I think that played a part,” said Rudd.
“Some of the lads had the fact we were playing Swansea, who were a Premier League outfit and have only just been relegated, in their minds. Once we’d put that to one side, we dominated the game.
“We need to have the belief that Preston can come to teams like Swansea and control things from minute one.”
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