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Flekken shrugs off flak to become key man for Brentford
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Callum Rice-Coates
Mark Flekken has impressed for Brentford of late
Mark Flekken has impressed for Brentford of late

After some mistakes earlier in the campaign, Mark Flekken has become a key player for Brentford in their effort to stay clear of the relegation zone.

He was impressive again as the Bees fell to a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City last week, making several saves to keep his side in the game.

Ahead of tonight's clash with West Ham, we take a closer look at the Dutchman's first year in the Premier League.

Frustrating the champions

Flekken made nine saves against City — six of which were from inside the box — as the champions grew visibly more and more frustrated.

The 30-year-old could do nothing to stop Erling Haaland's emphatic winner — but based on xG he prevented 1.82 goals at the Etihad.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank took note of Flekken's eye-catching display.

He said: "The first City game was the first one where everyone recognised how good he [Flekken] was.

"We knew what kind of level he has, and I'm very pleased he has shown it. 

"I agree he was fine, without being through the roof, in the beginning of the season, but it's natural coming into a new club, new league and with the amount of injuries. 

"Everybody needs stability, especially a goalkeeper."

Gradual improvement

Mark Flekken almost kept Manchester City at bay last week
Mark Flekken almost kept Manchester City at bay last week

Flekken did not always convince in the early weeks of the campaign after arriving from Freiburg.

Seemingly lacking confidence — understandable in a new league and with the pressure of replacing the excellent David Raya — he conceded a number of avoidable goals.

But there has been a noticeable improvement of late and Flekken is beginning to repay Frank's trust.

Earlier this month, the Bees' manager said: "I think he [Flekken] has been better than the criticism he has been getting. 

"I don't think it has been in the ground, but I am told it's more from keyboard warriors.

"He's been good with his distribution and made some very crucial saves. We showed just why we signed him."

Flying Dutchman

Mark Flekken took some time to adjust to the Premier League
Mark Flekken took some time to adjust to the Premier League

Flekken has timed his strong run of form well.

Not only have his saves helped Brentford move away from the bottom three, he has also surely increased his chances of featuring for the Netherlands at this summer's European Championship.

The former Freiburg goalkeeper was a late bloomer on the international stage, only making his debut in 2022 and going on to win six caps.

For now, though, Flekken's focus will be on Brentford and maintaining his recent level of performance.


BrentfordPremier LeagueMark Flekken
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