Former Bolton ‘keeper Jääskeläinen en route to ISL Season 4 for ATK
Atlético de Kolkata have acquired the services of former Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United and Wigan Athletic custodian Jussi Jääskeläinen for the fourth edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).
The 42-year-old Finnish goalkeeper, renowned for his knack of thwarting spot-kicks, has had the experience of playing 15 seasons in the Premier League, and was a Bolton player from 1997 to 2012 amassing over 500 appearances for the club. He also played a pivotal role in helping them finish 7th in the 2006-07 EPL season, which secured their qualification for next season’s UEFA Cup, and he subsequently picked up Bolton’s Player of the Year award.
The 6’3” tall Jääskeläinen also played all the 38 matches in a Premier League season on seven occasions; six times for Bolton and once for the Hammers, the latter one coming at the age of 37.
Possessing very strong wrists, the Finn has saved powerful shots and has shown great athleticism to save spectacularly as well. One of his talents, though, was reading penalty kicks pretty well. He made innumerable saves from 12 yards throughout his long career; and once in the fifth round of the 2006-07 FA Cup against Arsenal, he saved two spot kicks - one in regular time and one in extra time - from Gilberto Silva and Júlio Baptista respectively. He had pulled off a similar stunt in 2006 against Blackburn Rovers in a Premier League match when he saved a penalty each from Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts en route to a 1-0 victory for Bolton.
With Wigan Athletic, he also won the English Football League League One in his very first season, keeping 15 clean sheets in 32 appearances.
What this means for the defending champions of the ISL though is that they now have two custodians who are well-versed with the art of saving spot-kicks. On his part, Debjit Majumder had done that reputation no harm when he emerged as the hero in the shoot-out that culminated after extra time during last season’s ISL final against Kerala Blasters FC.
On the other hand, though, the team now has Jääskeläinen with all his immense experience speaking in his favour. He can make important and difficult saves. Come Season 4, it will be interesting to see as to which of the two custodians get more games under his belt.