Hibs yesterday completed the signing of goalkeeper Adam Bogdan on a season-long loan deal from Liverpool. Here, Patrick McPartlin looks at what the Hungarian ‘keeper will bring to the Easter Road side
Adam Bogdan just wants to get back to playing football regularly. The 30-year-old hasn’t kicked a ball since late 2016, after suffering a particularly nasty anterior cruciate ligament injury, but is adamant he can return to his best at Hibs after linking up again with former boss Neil Lennon.
• READ MORE - Neil Lennon factor key in Adam Bogdan’s move to Hibs
Standing 6ft 4in, with a mop of red hair topping his frame, the Hungarian ‘keeper, dubbed “Shaggy” for his resemblance to the Scooby Doo character, is targeting games, success and ultimately, a return to the national team set-up.
Bogdan joins a sizeable goalkeeping contingent at Easter Road comprising Ofir Marciano, Ross Laidlaw, Kevin Dabrowski and Paddy Martin.
He has plenty of experience
Still only 30, Bogdan has made more than 20 appearances in the English Premier League for Bolton and Liverpool and close to 100 appearances in the English Championship for Bolton and Wigan.
He’s also trained alongside goalkeepers such as Jussi Jaaskelainen, Simon Mignolet, Ali Al-Habsi and Alex Manninger, all of whom are, or were, regular internationals, while Bogdan himself has made 20 appearances for Hungary.
While he lacks playing experience in Europe, he was named on the bench for Liverpool’s Europa League matches against Sion, Bordeaux and Rubin Kazan.
On top of that, in 2012 he was named Hungarian Player of the Year and picked up Bolton’s Player of the Year award as well.
As recently as 2016, he was a target for an unnamed French Ligue 1 side and this time last year was linked with Nottingham Forest.
Lennon feels he is a “dependable... quality player” and believes his experience and skillset can help bring on his fellow keepers.
The Hibs boss used this approach before with Grant Holt and his strikers, and will be looking for Bogdan to follow Holt’s lead.
With Marciano still recovering from surgery on a finger injury he sustained on international duty, and Dabrowski and Martin both lacking in first team experience, Bogdan could be involved in the Europa League qualifiers against NSI Runavik - either as a starter, or on the bench.
He’s unlikely to let criticism get to him
When Liverpool confirmed Bogdan’s loan deal with Hibs, numerous Anfield fans aired their views on social media - most of which were neither sincere nor positive. But the Hungarian goalie has a thick skin.
In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, he spoke about shutting out the criticism that goalkeepers can face.
“Everyone has their opinion. And you can hear it from everybody – ‘oh, did you see that comment online?’ or whatever – but as you get older you get more mature and can deal with that better,” he said.
“The only opinions that matter, really, are those of your manager, your coach and your close family. You can’t worry about what everyone else thinks, or else you’d drive yourself mad.”
After a high-profile error against Watford in an English Premier League game, Bogdan said: “Something went wrong. I have to think about it again, it was a mistake and I will learn from it.”
His first loan spell, at Crewe Alexandra, lasted just one game before the Railwaymen sent him back to Bolton, but the raw ‘keeper knuckled down and eventually made his first team bow around two seasons later.
He’s not your average footballer
Bolton’s former goalkeeping coach Fred Barber likened his early sessions with the young Bogdan to “training a wild horse” adding: “Getting him to do things the way I wanted to do them was tough.”
The Budapest-born footballer told Barber he was keen to attend college in the afternoons after morning training, whjich didn’t go down well with the former Everton ‘keeper.
Barber told the Echo: “I told him that wasn’t going to happen. You’ve got to give everything to football if you’re going to be a top player, you need to forfeit.
“He’d do things like turn up at training with a headband on. He’d say it was to keep his hair out of his eyes but I’d tell him to go and get a flipping hair cut,” Barber recalled.
One journalist tasked with interviewing Bogdan a few years ago came away having covered subjects including Middle Eastern politics and Communism with the Hungarian goalkeeper, while former team mates recall Bogdan’s shyness as he got to grips with the English language, peppering his conversations with slang. On one occasion, Bogdan said to Marc Iles, chief sports writer with The Bolton News: “That sounds too American, pretend I said something better.”
What are his strengths?
Bogdan’s height gives him an advantage in the box - his 6ft 4in frame will give him a good few inches over most strikers - but he is a good shot-stopper as well.
His reflexes are sharp, and he isn’t beyond racing from his line to smother potential attacks.
Bogdan’s size can make him an intimidating barrier between strikers and the goal while his reach often means he reaches shots some smaller ‘keepers might not.
His distribution is strong while his kicking - a weakness when he arrived at Bolton - has come on leaps and bounds.