TOM King said he was “absolutely delighted” to make his full debut for Millwall against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
King, 21, took over from Jordan Archer between the sticks as Lions boss Neil Harris named a youthful side with seven players who had come through the U18s or U21s.
King looked like he had done enough to send the game into an extra-time period Harris didn’t want when he came off his line in the 86th minute to narrow the angle and block Jamie Ward’s shot.
But moments later Lars Veldwijk found space in the box to shoot low past the goalkeeper and send Forest through to the third round.
That late blow didn’t take the shine off the experience for King, though, and he revealed Harris left it late to tell him he was in the starting XI.
“I was absolutely delighted,” he gushed. “It’s something I’ve been working towards since the day I walked through the door at the club.
“It was in the hotel before the game (when he found out he was in the team) so I didn’t have that much time to over-think it. I think that was better for me, if he’d told be earlier I might have over-thought some of my decisions.
“But I was able to act naturally and play my own game.”
King is the fifth player to have come through the U21s to be given his first-team debut by Harris, and King said Archer and goalkeeping coach Kevin Pressman were important presences in the build-up to his big moment.
King said: “Jordan was brilliant before the game and in the warm-up, he told me to relax, that it was just like any other game.
“Kev pulled me aside for a few words before I walked out onto the pitch so they were both brilliant and settled any nerves that were still there.”
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