WOKING goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen believes exciting times lie ahead for the Kingfield club.

Jaaskelainen – who joined the Cards in February, having most recently been on League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon’s books – told the News & Mail: “I want us to get promoted, 

“Woking to win the league, that’s what I’m aiming for.”

The 24-year-old made 14 appearances for Woking last season and helped them reach the Vanarama National League play-offs for the first time. His efforts were rewarded with a contract extension which runs until the end of next term.

Asked if the 2023-24 campaign will be as compelling as last season, the former Finland under-21 gloveman said: “Definitely. Everyone who’s here now is going to have only one goal in their mind, and that’s to be successful. So it’s exciting to be part of the club for next season.

“Signing [the extension] was something I wanted to do straight away. As soon as the season finished, I was waiting for the gaffer [Darren Sarll] to give me a call. 

“I wasn’t interested in going anywhere else. I wanted to stay at Woking because of how good it is here. 

“The staff at the club value me highly and I value them, so I wanted to keep that going.” 

With the players due to begin pre-season training towards the end of this month, Jaaskelainen – who made almost 100 appearances for Crewe Alexandra – was asked how he is spending his summer.

He said: “I’ve got time to relax and see my friends, which I don’t get to do during the season. And I went to America with my family to see my little brother, who plays college soccer in New York. So the summer’s been good but it came quite quickly for me. 

“My season started in February, so I kind of wanted it to carry on. But it’s a good break and next season’s a full season for me, so I can’t wait.”

Jaaskelainen is the son of former Premier League goalkeeping star Jussi Jaaskelainen, and he has another brother who also plays football.

“During the summer, I can physically switch off from football,” said the Woking custodian. “But with family conversations, mum sits there and says ‘Can we talk about something else?’ because we pretty much only talk about football in our family.” 

And of his father, who turned out 56 times for Finland, Jaaskelainen said: “Every summer, me and my dad train together. 

“He coaches me and then, when the season starts, he leaves me to it. His football knowledge is incredible and the experience he’s got is priceless. And we [Jaaskelainen and his brothers] just follow in his footsteps with the way he ate and the way he lived his life as a professional footballer.”

One of Jaaskelainen’s closest friends is the England and Arsenal goalie Aaron Ramsdale. The pair met in Bolton as youngsters and honed their skills in Jaaskelainen’s garden, under the tutelage of Jaaskelainen senior.

“We were both at Bolton Wanderers’ academy,” said Jaaskelainen of Ramsdale.

“He’s one of my best mates and we started our careers together. He left Bolton and joined Sheffield United when we were 17 but we’ve stayed in touch and followed each other’s career all the way.”