Football: Smith splashes out on Simonsen

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The Independent Online
STEVE SIMONSEN may have become Britain's most expensive goalkeeper yesterday - but he knows that his price tag alone will be no guarantee of a place in the Everton first team.

The England Under-21 international also became the country's most expensive teenager when he moved to Goodison Park for pounds 3.3m from Tranmere Rovers yesterday, after months of negotiations.

Simonsen does not expect to go straight into the side for Saturday's home game with Blackburn. Thomas Myhre, the Howard Kendall purchase who took over from Neville Southall last season, is the man in possession of the No 1 jersey - and Simonsen is sure he will have to wait.

The Norwegian international Myhre, who cost pounds 800,000 last November, has been put under intense pressure by the arrival of Simonsen as the Everton manager, Walter Smith, took his spending to more than pounds 15m since assuming the reins in the summer. Simonsen said: "Thomas has come in and done a good job. I've been watching him and he's been brilliant since he arrived to take over from Neville Southall last season. It will be good competition for me, and I know Thomas feels the same way.

"Obviously I'd love to be thrown in, but if Thomas keeps his form up there is nothing I can do. It will be a case of just chipping away and hoping I get the chance."

Simonsen spent time training alongside Myhre at Everton last season, and has also had special coaching from Southall at Tranmere. Now he has the chance to take over from them both.

Simonsen has made a swift rise to prominence, having played fewer than 40 League games for Tranmere. He forced his way into John Aldridge's side last season and set a new club record of seven consecutive clean sheets. At 6ft 2in, he won a reputation for the ability to command his area.

ENGLAND'S MOST COSTLY KEEPERS

PLAYER FROM TO pounds m

Steve Simonsen Tranmere Everton 3.3

Nigel Martyn C Palace Leeds 2.25

Ed de Goey Feyenoord Chelsea 2.25

Tim Flowers Sthmptn Blackburn 2.0

Shaka Hislop Reading Newcastle 1.57

Mark Schwarzer Bradford C Middlesbro 1.5

Shay Given Blackburn Newcastle 1.5

Paul Gerrard Oldham Everton 1.5

David Seaman QPR Arsenal 1.3

David James Watford Liverpool 1.2

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