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What the Professionals Say

Ian WalkerThe Walkers are united in their praise of "outstanding" Alec

Former England goalkeeper Ian Walker says Alec Chamberlain is a role model, and an "outstanding servant" to English football.

And his father - former Watford goalkeeper, Mike, who Alec took over from as Colchester United's number one 23 years ago - says he is not in the least surprised that his protégé is still going strong after so many years.

Said Ian, now 34: "I was a 12 year old aspiring goalkeeper when Alec arrived at Colchester, and obviously I became aware of him because I spent a lot of time at the club with my dad.

"Dad always rated him very highly, and obviously I have followed his career, having seen him take over from my dad at the start of the 1983-84 season.

"Even at 13, when Alec made his breakthrough, I realised he was going to have a good career in the game, and hasn't he just - from Colchester to Everton to Luton, Sunderland and now Watford.

"I've always had the highest respect for Alec, and obviously as i became a professional, and was lucky enough to play at the highest level for Tottenham and England, I came to appreciate the respect with which Alec was held by so many people in the game.

"Having followed his career, it was a privlege to play opposite him for Leicester in 2002 - it was our first League game at The Walkers Stadium, and I was chuffed that it was against Watford, and that Alec was at the other end. We won, by the way, 2-0, but i do remember Alec making a couple of really good saves!

"Alec might be coming to the end of his playing career, but he's a role model to aspiring professionals, and will always remain so. He's also been a fantastic ambassador for football, and he's a really decent guy who i have nothing but the highest respect for."

Both Ian and his dad, Mike, are delighted Alec's been awarded a Testimonial by Watford, and will be wishing him well throughout the year.

Mike, a former manager of Norwich and Everton, is now living in Canada, and said: "Alec was a very talented goalkeeper when he arrived at Colchester, we all rated him highly, and though it was hard for me to step down after so many years, I was delighted we found somebody as young as he was, and with so much potential.

"Since he left Colchester he's continued to establish himself as a top professional...he was outstanding for Luton, he did very well for Sunderland, and at Watford he's been fantastic.

"I'm absolutely delighted he's been awarded a Testimonial with my old club Watford, a place where I had so many great days, including our FA Cup run in 1970 when we got to the semi-finals.

"I wish Alec every success, and I wish Watford well for the new season."

Written by Peter Jones, of the PR consultancy Red Alert Media.

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