Christian Walton paid tribute to the goalkeepers’ union at Brighton & Hove Albion and believes it has helped him develop as a player.
The 19-year-old made his fourth first-team appearance against Middlesbrough in the final league match of the season on Saturday, and was thrilled to make the step-up into Chris Hughton’s side.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “I made my debut in November which was the target at the start of the season, so to get another appearance for the first team was brilliant.
“The manager took me into his office on Thursday morning and told me that I’d be starting, so I was delighted and knew it was a chance I had to take with both hands to prove that I’m good enough to play in the team.
“I’ve been learning from Stocko [David Stockdale]; a Premier League keeper coming to Brighton. In that respect it’s been good, as I’ve been able to learn from the best.
“I’d say he has brought me out of my shell a little bit and involved me in the banter around the changing room, as has Casper [Ankergren] and Antti [Niemi].
“At the start of the season I was a young 18-year-old that had just been brought into the first-team environment and was a bit nervous.
“It’s a lonely position when things are not going well, so you’ve got to stick by each other and pull each other through.”
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The 19-year-old then turned his attentions towards England and his aim to secure a place in the Three Lions’ Toulon Tournament squad, which runs between 27th May and 7th June.
“If selected, I’ve got the Toulon Tournament to look forward to with the England under-20s squad which will go on for three weeks. It’s a big, televised competition and it would be brilliant to be part of that.
“I’m going to have a couple of days off now and then go off to train with the under-21s to try and keep on top of things. Maybe I can get another game in somewhere before the end of the season.
“After that, I want to come back raring to go for the start of pre-season and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
The talented shot-stopper insists he is loving life on the south coast and is ready to compete for the Albion number one jersey with Stockdale next season.
“I love it here; I love Brighton as a place and being at the new training ground this year has been good for all the players. It’s been a great experience for me and I’ve really enjoyed this season.
“I’ve trained as a number two, so when you see that number one shirt it makes you hungry and you want to play. I’ve just got to hit the ground running and see how it goes in pre-season.”