signed a new three-year contract on Thursday evening, and the 'keeper spoke to Reading FC Player about his long-term deal. The full video is on Player now, or read below for a complete transcript.
Congratulations, a few moments ago you put pen to paper on a new deal, how do you feel?
I really am delighted mate, it’s a big weight off your shoulders to do it before the start of the season. I only had twelve months left on my contract too so it just goes to show how far the club has come along in such a short space of time. Usually around this time we lose a few players but it’s good to see that we have gained some very good players. I am looking forward to this season and my mind is only going to be on one thing now.
As you said you only had twelve months left so it must be great to have that extra stability and reward now?
Yes, it works well both ways; it’s good for me and good for the club and helps to shows the intentions of the club. It’s a massive positive that we have also brought in some really good players to create such a great squad; things are looking good for the new season.
Nick Hammond described you as the best goalkeeper in the Championship last season with aims of being one of the best in the Premier League as well, how does it feel to be going into that level now?
I used to get a little bit annoyed when people talked about me being the best in the Championship because I want to be judged on a bigger scale, thankfully I can have that to look forward to this season. It’s going to be great to be putting myself up against some of the best players and the top goalies in the world, which is what I have dreamed of since I first came over here. We all worked extremely hard last season to put us in that position so I think we are all looking forward to it.
Does it seem like a long time that you have been with the club now?
It has been a long time and I have been involved with all-sorts of starting elevens as well. I remember it well when I first came here so I can say there is big difference between then and now. I have been through it all here, I have seen us last time when we were in the Premier League when we were right at the bottom of the league so I have witnessed some big changes and transitions at this club. I have been here a long time but it has helped to build me into a stronger person and a much more experienced goalkeeper which is what it is all about. It has been a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, none more so than last season, but pre-season has been great so far and now I think everyone is just buzzing and ready for the start of the new campaign.
It really does feel like the club is going places at the moment; you signed a new contract, new players have been brought in, Anton Zingarevich is the club's new owner and it looks like it is only going in one direction.
That’s right, as I said already it is a massive positive. Around this time managers are forced to lose a few players but it is great for us to be able to retain myself among others, and at the same time bring in some real quality. The new boys all fit in terrifically well, the squad is looking really strong and there is a fight for each position which is exactly what you want at a club. We are a Premier League club now and that is what you need.
The stable of goalkeepers here under Sal Bibbo’s tutelage is quite something; it’s a credit to you being ahead of them because we’ve got some top ‘keepers here.
Reading has always had good goalkeepers; Marcus Hahnemann was tremendous and I was lucky enough to learn a lot from him. A lot of it is down to Sal, he deserves a lot of credit as he works particularly hard, of course it is also down to us as professionals. Our group works well together but as I mentioned there is a fight for each position so everyone tries to be at the top of their game.
What are your aims now, how far do you think you can go and how far do you think the team can go?
The team is very strong but it will be a tough year, we need everyone right behind us because we will be up against the best players in the world. I don’t think you can call it until we get going but personally I am just going to do what I usually do and keep working hard and you never know where you might end up. All I can say is that I want to be the best I can be, keep pushing myself each and every day which is what I have been doing so I will continue in that form.