Soccer World Cup is an honour to attend – even for a No 2 goalkeeper

Being the understudy doesn’t mean it’s less of a big deal to represent your country, says former England goalkeeper Nigel Martyn

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The 2018 Fifa World Cup is turning out to be more interesting than many had hoped. Some of the tournament’s biggest teams are underperforming, and predictions for the 2018 cup winners are up in the air.

And while the teams have been picked for some of the biggest matches of their career, sub goalkeepers have to be content with standing by, hopeful for a chance to feature in a World Cup match.  

Former England goalie Nigel Martyn has always regarded it an honour to be picked to represent his country at the prestigious World Cup games. To him, being a number-two goalkeeper was an affirmation more than a burden. He served as an understudy to David Seaman at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

“Since Dave, we've had many good goalkeepers, but none in his class,” Martyn told Betway Insider sports writer Adam Drury. “I definitely think if I’d come along a little bit later, there would have been more opportunity. But that's life.”

Seaman has not been matched in the national team selection since his last performance more than 15 years ago, said Martyn, adding: “Dave was a very good goalkeeper. I’d put him in with the likes of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton. They were the real three greats that we’ve had, and the rest of us haven’t managed to get to the heights that they’ve achieved.”

A standout performer, Martyn was no second choice, though. He spent six seasons at West Yorkshire-based Leeds United and went on to win 23 England caps. He featured in the Leeds side that reached the 2001 Champions League semifinals and was picked for a World Cup where his country, England, was ranked 16/1 in football betting to win.

Martyn replaced an injured Seaman for England’s Uefa Euro group match against Romania in 2000. He was also instrumental in getting his team to qualify for the 2002 Fifa World Cup.

“It is a proud moment getting selected, and you’re keen to impress in training and being ready,” he said. “That’s the thing you have to be. Nobody wishes injury, being sent off the field, illness or anything on anybody else – but these things can happen.”

He said most sub goalkeepers trained harder than the rest of the team, keeping fit and staying on point even on days when their teammates rested after a big game.

“While we were out there, we trained really hard,” he said. “The two other goalkeepers – Tim Flowers and I in 1998, and David James and I in 2002 – probably trained harder than just about anybody else.

“We were doing extra sessions, training on the day after the game when the lads who had played had a day off. We would train really hard again so we were prepared and ready if needed.”

This article was submitted by Betway.