Marek Stech is looking to put the good advice he has received from team-mates into action this season after gaining vital first-team experience in the last week.
After getting 20 minutes in the 2-0 win at Peterborough United last Tuesday, the 18-year-old goalkeeper got his chance to make his full debut, albeit in a non-competitive fixture, against Southampton last week. He was a confident performer and although Southampton struck twice in the 2-2 draw, the upcoming keeper was not fazed. He underlined his growing stature by making some good saves before and after the two goals.
"The first chance they had, I managed to get a hand to it and push it over the bar," said Stech, who replaced the rested Robert Green. "They scored twice but I was still able to get some saves in and I felt confident throughout the match. The manager said I played well and I was happy to hear that, because it was my debut for the first team and a big moment for me."
Stech, who signed a new five-year contract last month, revealed that Alan Curbishley only told him he would be in the starting eleven just before kick-off. "The manager told me I was playing and it was a nice surprise," said Stech. "Greeny had travelled as well, so I didn't expect to start. I was very pleased to get the shout."
The Czech youth international keeper has also been included in the squad alongside Green that travels to Ipswich for Monday's friendly at Portman Road. There is a good relationship between the two and he also gets plenty of support from the other senior players - especially his fellow stop-stoppers and goalkeeping coach Ludek Miklosko.
Stech added: "In training, Greeny and Jimmy [Walker] talk to me about how I can do this or that better. Ludo is also helping me and always talks to me before and after a game. It is good to hear all of this and all I can do is my best in training and then show the manager what I can do on the pitch."