BILLY Stark has few worries about Jordan Archer's lack of game time at Tottenham Hotspur – as the Scotland Under-21 goalkeeper hasn't had many fewer competitive first-team minutes this season than France No 1 Hugo Lloris.
Archer, 20, part of Stark's squad for next week's Marbella Cup tournament with the USA and Canada, practises every day with arguably the most competitive group of goalkeepers in modern football. Tottenham paid Lyon €12m for Lloris in the summer but he has been little more than a bystander at White Hart Lane due to a logjam of top goalkeeping talents that includes Brad Friedel, Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini.
Archer, who has spent the last week or so on an emergency loan at Wycombe Wanderers and who has gained his first under-21 caps in recent months after injuries to Grant Adam and Mark Ridgers, is one of the next on that list and Stark feels time is on his side.
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"They are top-notch guys and Jordan trains," Stark said. "He can learn from the standards they set. Friedel has had an outstanding career and looks to me to be the type to be a great professional.
"We are hoping Jordan will continue to progress. I am not an authority on goalkeepers but Jordan has impressed Jim Leighton and he has impressed me with the way he goes about things.
"His athleticism caught our eye right away but he was definitely a bit raw two or three years ago when we first had a look at him. But he has been improving.
"Because of our situation with the injuries to Adam and Ridgers he got a couple of competitive caps and I thought he handled those situations pretty well. He went out for an emergency loan to Wycombe Wanderers and played for them so he got a bit of experience there, too.
"He played a full season for Bishop's Stortford last year and handled it really well, so we can see him progressing.
"He still has a lot to learn, of course, but he has good size and good hands, and it is a bonus for us to have a goalkeeper who is OK with the ball at his feet."
The trip to Marbella is the first step in Stark's preparations for the 2015 European Championship campaign. The draw is due to take place in January and matches could begin as early as March.