By Jonas Terrado
Neil Etheridge is now setting his sights on completing another major achievement after helping the Philippine Azkals qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup by making Cardiff City secure a promotion in the English Premier League next season.
Cardiff, with Etheridge manning behind the sticks, is currently second in the English second-tier Football Championship and will need to stay in that spot for the final nine matches of the season to secure one of the two outright places in next year’s Premiership.
The scenario is so close to becoming a reality that Etheridge couldn’t help but get excited especially after playing a major role in the Azkals’ Asian Cup entry that was completedTuesday with a 2-1 victory over Tajikistan at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“I’m taking it game-by-game, step-by-step,” Etheridge said. “Just extremely blessed to be where I am. We got a massive opportunity to get promoted with nine games left. I hope this would be the year that I won’t forget.”
The 28-year-old Etheridge had actually been a part of a Premier League club with Fulham from 2006 to 2014, but never got to see action in the top-level league.
He joined Cardiff before the start of this season and has been excellent as the club’s starting goalkeeper.