On New Year's Day, Dan Potts was part of the Colchester United side beaten 3-0 at Crawley Town in npower League One - the U's fifth defeat in succession.

Five days later, the 18-year-old had been recalled from his loan spell at the Essex club and drafted into West Ham United's starting line-up for the FA Cup with Budweiser third-round visit of Manchester United.

Some might have expected the left-back to be low on confidence or nervous at the prospect of facing the Barclays Premier League leaders, but Potts was made of sterner stuff, producing an assured and impressive performance in the thrilling 2-2 draw.

Crawley away to Manchester United at home - that's some difference and you must be proud of the way you performed on your return to the team?

DP - "Obviously it was a massive game against a massive team. I got the recall from my loan at Colchester and there were little rumours about the team in the lead up to the game and I didn't really think I'd be starting until about two hours before kick-off. It sank in and I went and got ready to play against one of the best teams in Europe."

If you were nervous, it certainly didn't show, because you looked comfortable out there?

DP - "With those sort of games against those teams, you cannot afford to be off your game and nervous at all - you have to be fully committed and positive and that's how I like to be and definitely thought I was. Everything I did, I was positive around it."

What do you think you did well out there against Manchester United?

DP - "It was a great experience playing against Manchester United but that is where I want to be playing. I took it with both hands and wanted to impress. I thought the lads, on the night, were terrific and I can't fault anyone's work ethic. We scored two good goals - it was just a shame we were playing against world-class opposition and it showed right at the end when Robin van Persie has plucked the ball out of the air and smashed it into the bottom corner. When you are playing against these sorts of teams, that's what you're going to be up against. It was vital that we stayed mentally switched on through out the whole game because one bit of magic like that and the ball was in the back of our net."

Presumably you would love to be involved in the replay at Old Trafford?

DP - "The replay is there now, but the only thing I am thinking about is the fact we didn't win the game on Saturday - especially towards the end. I am still proud of the performance but we had one foot in the next round. The crowd were terrific - I've never heard anything like it - so it's just a shame one bit of magic denied us. We've got a replay and we're still in the tie, so we'll take the positives out of it."

You were nine-years-old last time Joe Cole pulled on a West Ham United shirt, so how was it to share a pitch with him?

DP - "I spoke to him when he came in and he's obviously been at the club before and made his debut alongside my Dad, so he said that's how he knows he is getting on a bit! He's a great player and he showed that on Saturday. He made two great assists and it's great to have around the place."

Just lastly, how did your loan spell at Colchester go, as the team's results have not been too good recently?

DP - "We did have a bad run of form, but the main thing for me was to go out on loan and get some games under my belt and get playing time. At my age, it's especially important to play first-team football, wherever that is. You want to be playing so I was just pleased to go there. The gaffer there was great to me and I got those games under my belt. It was tough but it was a great experience."

QPR