LIAM Trotter insists he thrives on the pressure of taking Millwall's penalties.
Trotter showed nerves of steel to bury a stoppage-time equaliser from the spot to salvage a point for the Lions against Reading on Saturday.
The 25-year-old looked to be the most relaxed man inside the Madeski Stadium as he rifled the ball into the roof of the net – but he feared his shot was going to hit the bar.
He said: "I wanted to go for the top corner so that it would be out of the keeper's reach, but there was a split second when I looked up and thought 'ah sh*t'!
"Thankfully for me it just went underneath and it was good for us to get the point."
Trotter is Millwall's go-to man when they are awarded a penalty and says he has learned to cope with the heavy weight of expectation on his shoulders.
"I wouldn't say I was too nervous but I'm always aware of the pressure and what it means – at whatever point it is in the game," he said.
"But I like that pressure and it is a responsibility I put on myself. Ultimately it is a free shot from 12 yards against the 'keeper, so I always fancy my chances and keep it in my head that, if I do what I can, I should score."
But the midfielder has not always been so clinical from the spot.
He said: "When I was a kid I missed every single penalty I ever took. The first one I ever took in professional football was for Scunthorpe in a penalty shoot-out a couple of years ago and I decided from that point I'd focus on them.
"You are not going to score every one but every time I step up I feel that, if I make the right contact with the ball, it should go in nine times out of ten.
"I practice them as often as I feel like I need to. Some days I just put the ball on the spot in training and take two or three, but it's not something you can overly-practise because you can't replicate the nervousness, anxiety or the crowd booing and shouting.
"As I stepped up their, 'keeper hit the bar and made it wobble, which is against the rules because it can put your alignment out when you're looking at the goal, but nobody does that in a training session!"
Trotter felt the Lions fully merited their point against the Royals.
He added: "It's more satisfying when you feel that you deserve it – sometimes you get a last-minute equaliser and you know that you didn't deserve it but you're just so grateful that you got that point.
"On Saturday we were arguably the better team for a lot of the game, we created some good chances and if it wasn't for one sloppy goal that we gave away, we could have won it.
"The most satisfying thing was that we got the minimum we deserved."