Boreham Wood have confirmed the capture of former Arsenal stopper Ryan Huddart.
Standing at 6ft 6in, Huddart is a physically-imposing shot stopper and will add further height to the Wood’s already imposing backline. A high-profile capture, the 21-year-old arrives with Champions League pedigree to beef up the Wood defence.
The former England youth international has experience with the Gunners’ first team, having been named on the bench in the Champions League group stages on multiple occasions – most notably against Borussia Dortmund. A standout performer for Arsenal in the UEFA Youth League in 2015/16, before going on to work with the under 23s and the first team, Huddart will become Boreham Wood’s new number one.
The stopper already knows Meadow Park well, having played the majority of his home matches at the ground for the Arsenal Development sides. The 21-year-old also has previous experience at this level, having spent a period on loan with Eastleigh in 2016.
The goalkeeper said: “I have played a lot of games here for the Arsenal youth sides and it is probably a home from home really haha. I feel very comfortable in my surroundings, which means that I can start quickly.
“I have spoken to the manager and the Chairman and they have given me an opportunity to come and play games here and that is what I need.
“I believe that Luke Garrard is a very good manager and I think that he will be able to better me as a goalkeeper.
“I am coming here to play games and hopefully get this club into the Football League. They were very close last year, and I think that we can go one better this year and I want to be a part of that.
“I am quite a big guy, so I am domineering figure, who can come for crosses. As goalkeepers, we are all shot stoppers, otherwise we are not in goal, so I would like to think that I am a fairly good shot stopper.
“I played a few games for Eastleigh, so I know what this level is all about and what it takes to play at this level. It is a difficult league and there are a lot of good teams in this division.
“I am looking forward to seeing how we get on, because I think that we have got a great chance of going up. We came close last year and haven’t lost that many players, so there is no reason why we can’t.”
On his latest acquisition, Luke Garrard said: “The addition of Ryan came in late, extremely late. Ryan wasn’t even a player who I had a conversation with towards the back end of last week, let alone mid pre-season.
“To capture a goalkeeper who is 6ft 6in, spent eight years at Arsenal and had a period on loan in the National League with Eastleigh, I believe is smart business.
“He has got unbelievable attributes, an attitude that I like working with, and he wants to progress. Ryan is someone who I looked at and my gut told me that he is someone I need to run with.
“He has come into training today and we have done a shooting drill with the strikers and he fills the goal like no ‘keeper I’ve seen. I just believe that he needs to start playing games and start progressing, because we have all been in that mould of 23s and reserve team football.
“Now is his time to step out of that and start to identify that it is all about men’s’ football. Hopefully he will come in and deliver like I believe he can and like he believes he can.
“He has got an opportunity with us. Grant Smith came in for two seasons and he has gone and progressed, and I can imagine Ryan doing the same thing.
“But, he needs to understand that it is not as easy as tippy-tappy football in the 23s league, it is about winning games of football and I believe that he will earn us points this year, just as our goalkeeper did last year.”