Jones tips Albion keeper to reach his full potential with Luton
Town manager Nathan Jones believes new goalkeeper Christian Walton is at the perfect place to realise his potential next season.
The 20-year-old shot stopper agreed a season long loan deal from Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion last Friday.
Walton comes to Kenilworth Road with an impressive CV to date, having played four times for the Seagulls, while representing England at U19 and U20 level and also featuring in the U21s squad too.
He had a frustrating time last year though, with loans at Bury and Plymouth, only featuring 10 times in total, as Jones, who had worked closely with the keeper when first team coach at the Amex Stadium, said: “He’s got real pedigree and that’s why Brighton bought him and that’s why he’s developed there.
“He’s got a little bit of everything really and he has so much potential, so much trajectory that he can go to.
“It’s about us getting the best out of him, about can we harness that? As a year ago he was on the brink of Brighton’s first team.
“When he played against Tottenham (in the cup), he kept the score down, he played in two Championship games, kept two clean sheets and then it’s been a relatively slow year for him last year.
“But now we’re looking to really pick that back up.”
Walton could have moved elsewhere, higher up in the football echelon too, but Jones felt it was a great boost to the club to secure his signature. He continued: “He wanted to come here, he had many options, really did, but he wanted to come here and that was a great thing for us.
“It’s a credit to the club, what we do here, that we’re attracting a good calibre of player, we’re not just scraping around and trying to get things.
“Brighton wanted the deal to happen and had a real desire for the deal to happen, so we’re pleased with that.
“We’re looking ahead, the recruitment is not just for now, short term fixes, it’s for longer term.
“It’s a great coup for us and we’re delighted to have him.
“He’s a good stature, we’re going to push him, we’re going to demand from him, but we believe he will respond.”
Walton will be given the number one jersey after Mark Tyler and Elliot Justham both left this summer and Jones believes it will be a vital season for his personal progression.
He said: “I think at any stage of your career you benefit from a season of first team football but especially him because he needs that.
“He needed to go and play at a place that was going to be conducive to him and we think we have that here.
“We know he’s going to make the odd error, we know that, but that’s not going to affect how we think about him and what I believe in.
“So we’re looking for a good season from him and I think he’s going to enjoy it here.”
On whether Brighton have a recall clause in the contract and can take him back if they want to, Jones added: “There will be a standard one in terms of around about January time, if they’re having a disaster, because of how the rules works now.
“But we hope and Brighton hope that he’s here for the season, has a good experience and helps us to achieve our goal.”