Cardiff City FC’s Filipino goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is in the country for a three-week vacation. But he made time for the media in order to impart some of his experiences in the recently concluded Premier League season and his plans with regards to the Azkals and what’s next for him with Cardiff City.
During the roundtable, he shared his personal views regarding Cardiff City FC’s Premier League campaign and how the season unfolded.
Despite his club eventually being relegated down to the Championship after the 2018-19 campaign, the Filipino shot-stopper was able to come up with a commendable performance all-season long, notching 10 clean sheets with 141 total saves and three penalty saves (two of which were in his Premier League debut).
“At the end of the day, it’s a team sport… You win together, you lose together,” Etheridge shared to the media focusing more on the team rather than dwelling on his personal achievements and milestones.
“Ultimately, at the end of the season, we fell short by two points and were unable to stay in the (Premier) League,” added Neil.
STILL A BLUEBIRD
It is to note though that given the Azkals sentinel’s commendable efforts and good overall form in manning the posts for The Bluebirds, despite the drop to the Championship for next season, speculations started to hover regarding Neil in terms of a possible return to the top flight via a transfer to a Premier League club, with West Ham as one of the first of such to be rumoured as having an interest.
However, amidst such rumours, Cardiff City’s current first choice sentry made it clear that, at this very moment, he is still with the Welsh club.
“At the end of the day, I (still) got two years left in my contract with Cardiff (City) and the future is out of my hands,” Etheridge shared.
CONTINUING WITH THE AZKALS
Neil Etheridge also touched on his current situation with the Azkals declaring that he wants to be in the squad, particularly in the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers in September this year.
He also emphasised that he has been with the Philippine National Team for 11 years, starting when he was just 18-years-old, and with such a length of involvement, he doesn’t want to just drop all those just for the sake of concentrating on his club career.
“I want to continue being a part of the Azkals. I feel like I have a lot more to give,” said Neil.
A SUCCESSFUL TESTAMENT OF WILL AND FORTITUDE
It has been known that Neil’s path to the current level he is in right now as a highly regarded goalkeeper has not been easy.
A promising career early on experienced challenges along the way. However, his persistence and focus eventually put him back at an upward trajectory towards the highest level of competition possible in England – the Premier League.
Such success story make him an example for many. Hence, when asked for advise and message of encouragement in conquering obstacles, especially to people who look up to him as an inspiration here’s what the now larger-than-life Azkal has to say:
“First of all thank you to everyone who supported me. It has been a long journey to get to where I am. It hasn’t been easy. It was a roller-coaster ride. But, ultimately, I think I have the ability to get to where I am. Challenges aren’t just on the field, but off the field too.”
“I’m talking to everyone who’s doing their own job (but are) finding it hard, to look always for the positives, always try to find the light at the end of the tunnel because there’s always one and I hope they find it one day.”