Date: 9th July 2011 at 7:27pm
Written by:

Steve Phillips

Age: 33
Former Clubs: Bristol Rovers, Bristol City, Shrewsbury (Loan)
Crewe Apps: 32
Height: 6′ 1′
Weight: 11st 10lbs

Initially joining in November 2009 on a loan deal from Bristol Rovers, Phillips made 30 loan appearances before making his move permanent in the summer of 2010, having previously spent pretty much his entire football career with the two Bristol clubs. Despite seemingly being unhappy at being left out of the side in favour of Rhys Taylor last season, Phillips signed a one year extension to his contract in March 2011.

Although an Alex player for over 18 months, Phillips will seem like a new signing in 2011-2012 having sat out last season firstly through injury and then as understudy to loanee Rhys Taylor.

He showed his value in one of only two starts last season, a commanding performance between the sticks that saw the Alex take 3 points from Bradford despite playing half the match with ten men. It’s a quality that’s definitely been missing over the last season and thankfully one of Phillips’ strengths. As a keeper who’s always been rated as one of the best in the lower leagues there’s certainly no worries for Alex fans when it comes to the goalkeeping position.

Ben Garratt

Age: 17
Former Clubs: Academy Graduate
Crewe Apps: 0
Height: 6′ 1′
Weight: 10st 6lbs

Although only 17 years of age and only in his first season as a professional, any Alex fan will already be familiar with Garratt. One from the academy’s ‘golden age group’, Garratt has been a regular feature in the England U-17 squad alongside Nick Powell and Max Clayton. Unlike Powell and Clayton, the Shrewsbury born stopper has not yet made his professional debut, although he featured on the first team bench on numerous occasions last season.

It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing much of Garratt in the coming season either. Dario has already said he would rather the youngster was getting regular football in the Under-18s than be sat on the bench every Saturday for the first team. Dario has however admitted that he would have no qualms about putting Garratt in the team if injuries forced his hand and having already claimed Garratt to potentially be one of the best ‘keepers the club has produced, we can be sure of seeing plenty of Garratt in the coming years.