PETER SHILTON: Gordon Banks was a legend, a pioneer and a trendsetter

England's most capped footballer, Peter Shilton, pays tribute to his former international and club team-mate, Gordon Banks, who has passed away at the age of 81.
 
The great Gordon Banks was a pioneer for all goalkeepers, a trendsetter who took the art of preventing goals to new heights.
Though my own mentor at Leicester was my first coach, a man called George Drewis, 'Banksie' was certainly up there as a huge influence.
I first visited Leicester as a 10 year-old when the club asked local primary schools to send their promising footballers along and I was chosen by George to train two nights a week.
I think you will find that George was an unsung mentor for Gary Lineker as well, crediting him for teaching the art of when to shoot.
But there were no specialist goalkeeping coaches in those days with keepers doing their own short post-session routine while the other players were in the bath. 
Specialist keeping coaches were a thing of the future - Gordon decided that was not enough so he used to get players in on a Tuesday and Thursday to give him extra practice, especially at shot-stopping.
I got involved retrieving the balls that flew wide of his goal but being behind the goals taught me so much.
I quickly realised that one of Gordon's great strengths was his anticipation and his positioning. He taught that getting behind the ball before it reached you cut down the need to be flinging yourself around.
Yet he still used to dive full-length for shots that were going wide. Always. I still believe it was that habit that was responsible for him saving the Pele header in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Still rightly hailed as one of the greatest saves of all-time, I am certain that was because he had taught himself the need to go for everything.
To this day I believe there were three world-class keepers from whom I learned the vital lessons that earned me 125 England caps.
It was Gordon who taught me the value of positioning yourself to the best advantage, Peter Bonetti showed me the value of agility and the Man in Black, Lev Yashin, the mindset that you should never concede a goal.
Banksie was first-team keeper when I signed my first contract at Filbert Street at the age of 15 and I was very quickly promoted to the reserves.
So for at least one session a week Gordon and I trained together. We both had a good work ethic we progressed together. Then Gordon was selected to the England team.
There were times when he was with Alf Ramsey's squad I was promoted to the first team and that's how he I made my debut against Everton at the age of 16 and played perhaps five games that season while he was on international call.
I realised that while Gordon was at his peak I would stay in the reserves. I was really ambitious. Around that time Stoke were showing interest in him and other clubs were enquiring about me.
There was a bit of friction in the air but Gordon liked the deal on offer at Stoke and the club wanted to cash in so off he went leaving me as No 1 at the old Filbert Street.
Our careers criss-crossed at international level, too. He was unquestioned international top choice and I became his understudy under Alf Ramsey. So obviously we trained together with England.
Gordon was retained after Alex Stepney and Bonetti were left out and suddenly I was his understudy and made my debut against East Germany.
It was when Gordon had his tragic accident that I became the first choice. Ironically I was to follow him to Stoke, though John Farmer was in goal at the time.
Gordon and I stayed in touch and did a few events together. He was a dedicated footballer, a modest man and taught me about being strong on the pitch and humble off it. A legend.
 
Peter Shilton was talking to Steve Curry
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