Australian goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer is closing in on a league debut for Charlton Athletic after becoming the club’s number two keeper.
Maynard-Brewer swapped Perth for south-east London in 2015 as a teenager and has spent the past five years working his way up the ranks at the Addicks.
Two years ago, the keeper made his senior debut in a 1-0 EFL Trophy loss against Swansea City Under-21s. This season, he has already featured in two EFL Trophy matches.
With Ben Amos Charlton’s first-choice shot-stopper, the 21-year-old was on the bench as his back-up in the recent 0-0 League One draw with Sunderland.
“I’ve played two first-team games in the EFL Trophy, one against Wimbledon and one against Brighton Under-23s, which have gone really well,” Maynard-Brewer told The World Game.
“I’ve had a few Conference loans, which got me used to first-team football. And yeah I’ve made the step in the past few weeks, which has been good. The last few years I’ve been in and around the first-team as a third keeper, learning off the other two.
“But at the moment I’ve been the number two goalkeeper, which has been good fun. I’ve been travelling to match-days, sitting on the bench and getting the cup games. Hopefully that will continue.
“Whenever I get the chance to play games I’ll try and do my best and take that opportunity. I’ve made the step up over the last couple of years – academy football, Under-18s, Under-23s, a few loans – so it’s all been working towards that league debut.”
After impressing in the academy and youth teams, over the past few years Maynard-Brewer has gone out on loan to Chelmsford City, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Dulwich Hamlet and Dove Athletic to gain senior experience.
The keeper feels his skills have improved significantly thanks to his time at the Valley.
“It’s gone quick. I left home a week or two before my 16th birthday,” he explained.
“I’ve been here a long time now. It’s a completely different lifestyle. Perth is quite a small town so you grow up idolising football in the UK.
“When I first came over, the football aspect was unreal, being a part of it, watching games and being involved. But it was just living away from home and keeping yourself occupied away from football – that was the big challenge.
“It was a change in lifestyle but luckily I have relatives over here, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, everyone except my immediate family. So that gave me a place to visit on the weekends and get away from football every now and then.
“I’ve been lucky in a way, there’s been a lot of good keepers that have come through in the last five years. We’ve had Dillon Phillips, currently Ben Amos, Jed Steer, Declan Rudd, Nick Pope, who’s now obviously doing big things with Burnley and in the England national team.
“Over those five years I’ve had some real good goalkeepers to learn off and it’s helped me massively.”
At Charlton since 2018, Maynard-Brewer has come under the guidance of former England midfielder Lee Bowyer and ex-Norwich City keeper Andy Marshall.
“It’s good. Lee’s been here a few years now,” he said.
“Before that there was a lot of turnover of managers, but he got a period of time to stabilise the team and he’s done some great things in getting us promoted a few years ago. He’s also a good bloke and nice to talk to.
“There’s a good core group of coaches there who give you a lot of feedback when you’re playing and how to make that adjustment from academy football to first-team matches.”
Maynard-Brewer came through at famed West Australian club ECU Joondalup and trained with Perth Glory’s youth team before his move to the UK. He grew up idolising Socceroos great Mark Schwarzer.
“It was always Schwarzer,” he admitted.
“I enjoyed watching him, especially as he got older. The last few years it’s been Maty Ryan, just the way he’s adapted to English football.”
Maynard-Brewer has been called up for the Young Socceroos in the past but has yet to represent Australia at youth level. He is keen to push his claims for a spot in the Olyroos squad that will compete in Tokyo next year.
“100%. I’ve been involved in a few camps over the years, I’ve gone to Spain when I was 18,” the goalkeeper said.
“The last two have been in Qatar, so I’ve been in and around it in a sense but haven’t played any competitive matches, which has been a little frustrating as I’d have loved to do.
“But I guess it’s good in a way as I’ve been able to focus on my time at Charlton. That Olympics is something I’m really striving to put myself in the best possible position for.”