Goalkeeper Ben Wilson has revealed the secret to getting over his first-start nerves on his full Coventry City league debut.

The Sky Blues understudy had made just seven first-team appearances for the club in cup competitions prior to being called into action from the bench for the final two minutes against Cardiff City last Wednesday night, having not played a first team match for almost 12 months.

But he held his nerve in what he described as the “land of giants” and was rewarded by getting the nod ahead of new signing Lee Camp on Saturday to face league leaders Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Asked about his late cameo against Cardiff when, crucially, he showed a safe pair of hands to take a high ball into the box, he said: “It was nerve-racking, especially going on against my old club.

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“I had been sat down for 90 minutes, had a hot water bottle on my lap and was just about to take my shin pads off and walk down the tunnel when Marko got injured.

“But you have to be ready. The first thing I did was take the free-kick so I knew my feet were right and then came and took one in the air and it was obviously land of the giants, so that was nice.”

He added: “When I saw the ball coming in I looked around and saw a 6ft 5 guy there, a 6ft 5 guy the other side and another 6ft 5 guy one in front so I was thinking, if Marko has come off like he did what am I going to be like?

“But it hung up nicely for me and it helped take the pressure off the lads.

“The nerves got me through really. There were just two minutes to go and you just have to do what you can to keep the ball out of the back of the net, so that gave me confidence going into Saturday.”

So was he nervous making his first league start for the club?

“I try to talk myself out of the nerves but I was always going to be nervous,” said the 28-year-old, who hails from the North East.

“I had a good warm up and that put me in good stead. I had a good chat with the gaffer and I spoke to him on Friday and said to him that if he gives me a cuddle before we go out then we’ll do all right.

“So I made sure I got the cuddle off him before I went out.

“And as the game went on I made a save and played a few balls with my feet and I just grew with confidence.”

Przemyslaw Placheta is fouled by Ben Wilson leading to Norwich City being awarded a penalty

The keeper’s debut almost turned into a nightmare on 25 minutes, however, when he raced off his line and threw himself at Przemyslaw Placheta’s feet to get the ball, resulting in the tricky Polish winger going to ground and referee Keith Stroud pointing straight to the spot.

“I 100 per cent got the ball,” he said, speaking after the 1-1 draw in Norfolk, courtesy of an 89th-minute equaliser from Max Biamou.

“I have seen it back and I have even spoken to the referee who was a bit, ‘Ooh,’ so I don’t know if he wanted to apologise to me or not but it was very, very frustrating and meant they went and scored.

“It was going through my head that if I save this I’m going to run straight to the referee and say, ‘there you go, that’s justice for you!’

“Liam Kelly even shouted that he’s going down the middle and it was a floaty one that unfortunately went in.

He added: “No-one knows what the rules are these days in football but I think he will look at that tonight with a glass of wine and probably think, ‘ooh God, I think I made the wrong decision there.’

Norwich City’s Mario Vrancic opens the scoring from the penalty spot against Coventry City

“We obviously didn’t score until late on and if it had finished 1-0 to them then it would have been an absolute disgrace. But we came away with a point in the end.

“And luckily I didn’t have anything to do in the second half so I can say I only really played 45 minutes for the lads.

“But all praise goes to them really because they are in front of me and stopping balls coming towards me.”

Asked if the manager gave him a cuddle afterwards, he said: “No he didn’t. He just asked me why I didn’t save the penalty!”





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