Keeper Chris is model citizen

Chris Maxwell claps the PNE fans after the weekend win at Rotherham
Chris Maxwell claps the PNE fans after the weekend win at Rotherham
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On the pitch, Chris Maxwell has established himself in recent weeks as Preston North End’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Away from it, the Welshman has accepted the role of being a community champion on behalf of the Lilywhites.

Maxwell has been named as National Citizen Service (NCS) ambassador.

He will work with the PNE Community and Education Trust to promote awareness of the NCS and the work that they do.

The NCS works with 15 to 17-year-olds in England and Northern Ireland, and was set up to help with social cohesion, social engagement and social mobility.

Maxwell said: “I’m delighted to be part of an initiative that brings young people together from all different backgrounds and where participants can experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

“I’ve already heard about the brilliant work done for young people by Preston North End and the National Citizen Service.

“I’m looking forward to helping them continue their great work in the community.”

Liam Smith, community provision manager at PNE Community and Education Trust said: “Chris is a great role model for young people and I’m looking forward to getting him involved in all aspects of the programme.”

Youngsters signing up for the NCS have a two to four-week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery. They also do 30 hours with a community project which benefits both young people and society.”

Community work is close to Maxwell’s heart.

When at Fleetwood, he won a number of awards for forging close links with fans and the wider community. He was named the Football League’s unsung hero for April, for work done with local schoolchildren to help their reading.

When winning that award, Maxwell said: “We are in such a privileged position being footballers in this country.

“We’re almost idolised by youngsters in the community.

“Young people are not judgemental in the slightest, they are quite easy to influence for good or for bad.

“I feel as if the reputation that footballers have isn’t a great one.

“You get questions from kids when you go to schools like, ‘How much money do you earn?’ or ‘What car do you have?’

“It’s really important for lads in our situation to work hard to influence the kids in the right way so that they receive support from somebody other than their parents or their teachers, which isn’t very cool for some of them.”

Maxwell has started PNE’s last eight Championship games, and they have lost only one of those.

The 26-year-old took his chance in September, putting in an impressive display at Bournemouth in the League Cup – three days after North End had lost 5-0 at Brentford.

He has dislodged Anders Lindegaard from the team, the Dane’s only appearance since the Brentford defeat being the 6-0 hammering at Newcastle in the League Cup.

Maxwell played his part in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Rotherham at the New York Stadium, making a good save from Danny Ward with the score at 0-0.