Aston Villa loanee Steer determined to push Shea for his place in between the posts for Luton

Stopper ready to play after signing until the end of the season

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 7:30 am
Town's new keeper Jed Steer
Town's new keeper Jed Steer

Town’s new on-loan keeper Jed Steer is determined to do all he can to push James Shea for the number one jersey at Kenilworth Road during his loan spell.

The 29-year-old was signed by the Hatters on deadline day last week to replace Simon Sluga who joined Bulgarian side Ludogorets for an undisclosed fee.

Steer, who has been at Villa Park since June 2013 and has another year on his deal there, was handed an early chance to show what he can do during the 3-0 FA Cup win at Cambridge on Saturday and is now looking to break into the Championship side, on the bench for the 2-1 win over Barnsley in midweek.

It won’t be easy, Shea keeping six clean sheets in 11 games since he himself came into the side for Sluga, as the new stopper, a former England youth international, said: “Sheasy’s done really well in the last few games, there’s a couple of big clean sheets in there.

“We both want to play football, so it’s great competition for both of us and we’ll see how it goes going forward.”

Although now direct rivals for the position, Steer is a big fan of the ex-AFC Wimbledon keeper, who has helped him settle in well at the Brache.

He continued: “I’ve played against Sheasy for a long time back in the day when I was at Norwich and he was at Arsenal.

“We used to play U18s and reserve games against each other, so I’ve always known Sheasy and followed his career.

“Everyone’s been great, the goalie area is a great area to work in and be involved in.

“Both the Kevs (Dearden and Pilkington) have been fantastic, so it’s a really good group and we’re all working well together.”

A move away from Villa Park was something that Steer had been angling for during the transfer window, having been restricted to just three outings this term, one of them in the Premier League, that a 3-0 reverse to Chelsea.

He only managed two cup appearances last year and four in the campaign before that, meaning his last meaningful stint of first team action came in the 2018-19 season.

Then he featured heavily for Charlton Athletic in League One, including the 2-2 draw at Luton, heading back to Villa to get his chance between the posts as they won the play-off final at Wembley, Steer playing a combined 39 matches in total.

On how deadline day unfolded for him, he said: “It was an interesting one actually. I was certainly hoping to get a loan move.

“I’d gone into deadline day with a couple of things on the go and then when Luton firmed up their interest, it was a no brainer for me.

“I haven’t played loads, I played a couple of cup games and one game in the Premier League so I’m desperate to play football.

“The option was there to go out on loan and that’s what I’ve done, fingers crossed I can help Luton achieve what they want to this season.”

Having been a number two at Villa Park for the past few seasons has proved hard at times for Steer too as he said: "Unfortunately, with the goalies, only one of you can play, so a lot of the time you have to be patient.

“At Villa, we have Emmy (Emiliano Martinez), who’s been unbelievable.

"I’ve learnt loads of Emmy and we work really well together, but he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“It was great working with him, but it’s tough mentally.

"You’ve got to get your head around if you’ve not got the shirt you’ve always got to be ready as a lot of the time, an opportunity is just around the corner."

Boss Nathan Jones was well-known to Steer too, as during his days at Norwich he was sent on loan to Yeovil then in League One, where the Welshman was still playing, but also on the management team too.

The keeper continued: “I played with the manager at Yeovil Town, I know how he was as a player and I’ve seen him as a manager as well.

“He was our left-back and also first-team coach so seeing the way he played the game and was in the meetings I thought he would definitely go on to have a good career as a manager as well.

"I definitely saw that back then.

“Whenever I played against him since he made a point of saying ‘hello’ and had a chat but as he said he was following my career, I’ve also followed his so it’s great to be back working with him again.

"I think that desire and motivation to achieve goals this season certainly played a massive part in my decision."

It's not just Jones and Shea who were known to Steer either, as he added: “It has been great, really, really good.

"I know Henri Lansbury and James Bree, I played with Luke Berry at Cambridge as well when I had a loan spell there.

"It’s always handy having a few familiar faces in the squad to come in to.

"The boys have been brilliant, absolutely fantastic, it’s a really great group and I know the manager always speaks about how good the group is and it really is.

"I’ve been here a week and it feels like I’ve been here a lot longer.

“The initial walking into the building is like your first day of school, everyone wants to come out and introduce themselves, but when you know a few of them, you can sit with them and get involved with the conversation a bit easier, it’s always handy.”