The Letheren Factor
THE latest Pilgrim to come under the spotlight of our student Sophie Naddermier is goalkeeper Kyle Letheren.
Since the turn of the year, Argyle look like a completely different team to the one facing a relegation dogfight at Christmas, now 15th in Sky Bet League One and slowly climbing up the table.
There can be many reasons as to why this is: better link- up play between players such as Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras, Argyle being more clinical when in possession and in the final third.
The brilliant shot-stopping and calm assurance from goalkeeper Kyle Letheren is another factor that has been thrown into the mix. Injury hit custodian Matt Macey at the wrong time but credit to Letheren, who has taken the opportunity to cement himself in the first-team plans since the beginning of 2019.
His tremendous form was again showcased by some of the saves made against Portsmouth on the weekend, when Argyle battled to an entertaining 1-1 draw in the Dockyard Derby.
Let us not forget that Letheren has had a previous spell with the Pilgrims. He re-signed for Argyle in September 2017 after a spell in 2009. There is always a feeling when you are the second-choice ‘keeper that you will become a benchwarmer and not get a chance to impress the manager.
When Macey was signed on loan from Arsenal at the beginning of the season, it was looking like Letheren was going to be the back-up but manager Derek Adams has kept faith with Kyle, even after Macey came back from injury.
Argyle are in a good run of form and he has been their number one in those games. As good as a team is playing in forward areas, the confidence gained from knowing you have an in-form keeper must be priceless. When Letheren has played, he has been calm and collected, and produced saves that world-class ‘keepers would be applauding.
It will be interesting to see who Derek Adams will have as Argyle’s number one come the end of the season, but on the basis of the last seven games, with only one loss in the last seven, Letheren is putting forward a strong case for his continued inclusion.