and I) are close because we’re similar ages. Obviously, when Edwin [van der Sar] was here, everyone still got on with him but he was a bit older and wasn’t into the same joking about that we were. We mess about because we’re so close in age. We share the same interests and go out socially - playing snooker, shopping or eating out. Yet it’s still competitive in training.
It must have been a proud moment to make your debut on tour last summer..
Yes, it was good but the next thing is I just want to play in a competitive game. I think it’s been a bit difficult this year with the cup draws. We had four of the defence all making their debuts against Newcastle [in the Capital One Cup]. Obviously, David and Anders have been trying to fight it out for the No1 spot as well but, if it’s right, your time will come.
When you have been on the bench, do you have to be prepared to be thrown into the action at a moment’s notice?
Anything can happen. You could even end up starting the game rather than coming on as the goalkeepers have an intense warm-up. If an injury does happen, then you’re straight in. So it’s a case of having patience but realising it can happen within the click of your fingers.
Have you got any secrets to your penalty-saving skills?
Not really, to be honest. I saved three out of four against Aston Villa in the national play-off final. The only time we do penalties is a day before a first-team game when we’ll practice free-kicks and penalties with different players. Touch wood, I’ve been lucky. I just pick which way to go and look at the taker’s run-up.
You’ve captained your country at Under-19 level – was that a different experience for you?
Yes, in the summer in the European Championship. No, it’s not different, although you do think I’ve got to lead by example. I think, as a goalkeeper, you are already talking to people and telling them what to do. I think that’s very similar with the captaincy. It was nice and was at Preston, where I am from, and where my Dad played back in the day.