JM- “Deniz has certainly shown over the course of the last season that he’s outstanding in what he does.”
Deniz Mehmet has signed a new three-year contract at Dunfermline Athletic and his manager James McPake says that the club is “over the moon” with it:-
“He’s a really important player, an important person in the dressing room, and his record this season speaks for itself. Deniz, in terms of the way he trains, the way he conducts himself in and around the place, and the performances on the pitch have been excellent. He’ll be desperate to kick on again.”
Above: Deniz Mehmet is presented with the Management Team’s Player of the Year
Going into next season the 30-year-old goalkeeper will provide continuity in a defence that did so well last season conceding only 21 goals in 36 league games. The manager feels that is particularly important in that position:-
“If we just rewind to this time last year, when we had just come in as well, we only did have one goalkeeper. At the minute, we’ve got Deniz and Max, so you’re a bit more comfortable with that.
“It’s a position on the pitch where I think you need to be satisfied with what you’ve got. You don’t want to be going into a season worrying, and Deniz has certainly shown over the course of the last season that he’s outstanding in what he does.”
The 2022-2023 season was the first in which Deniz pinned down a regular starting place. His 44 appearances last season bring his total senior appearances to just one short of 100 over the last eight seasons. His manager stressed that Deniz seized the opportunity in his League One winning team:-
“His decision making’s been excellent all season, so he was one of the ones we were very keen to get done. For a goalkeeper, that was probably his first full season of getting a really strong run at it, and he just showed exactly what he can do, so he’ll be delighted to get back as well.”
Deniz has demonstrated over the past season that even playing in a team that gave up few chances to opponents, they had a goalkeeper who could pull off important saves at key points in the season and on the odd occasion when they were really up against it. James agreed:-
“That’s one of the things that I think, for me, that the respect and admiration I’ve got for him is down to, because a lot of games we were maybe winning 1-0, or we were up in games, and he wasn’t getting an awful lot to do.
“You see that in the teams that go on and have a bit of success. At times their goalkeeper isn’t working a lot. There’s been a lot of games where Deniz hasn’t been worked, and then, all of a sudden, he pulls off a big stop that wins us the game or keeps us in the game.
“Like the Airdrie one down there, the 1-1, I think he had three or four that day that were fantastic saves. You look at the fact we go down to nine men, we hang on, and you come away with a lot of credit, but you also need your goalkeeper to pull off some big saves, and he does that on a regular basis.
“He’s got a trait in him that I really like in a goalkeeper – he plays without emotion. He’s very clear in his head. It’s not to say he’s not an emotional person, or he doesn’t get excited, but it’s just the way he calms the full team down. You see that, he comes for crosses in the 88th, 89th minute when you’re winning 1-0, and that’s because he is so clear of mind at the time that he can go and do that.”