Saturday’s edition of SAINTS, to mark the visit of Leicester City to St Mary’s, features the following feature-length interview with new number one Alex McCarthy…
Alex McCarthy feels different when he comes into work these days.
Life as a goalkeeper can be lonely. It’s black or white – you’re in or you’re out.
As with any professional sportsman, the trick is to stay level. Never too high, never too low – the peaks and troughs are inevitable, so you just deal with them as best you can.
Fortunately, McCarthy isn’t one to change his tune overnight. A dominant, imposing presence in front of 30,000 at St Mary’s, off the pitch he’s quiet, unassuming and reluctant to embrace the fame that comes with being a Premier League number one.
His career has turned on its head in the last eight months. Until the very last match of 2017, he was still waiting to make his Premier League debut and had not played a first-team game in over a year.
By his own admission, it was a difficult time.
“It’s a tough one,” McCarthy explains. “Being a goalie, it’s not like you’re an outfield player who comes on for 20 minutes here and there.
“You’re either in the team or you’re not in the team. I had to wait a long time to get in, but once I got my chance I wanted to make sure I stayed there.
“Being the first choice this season, I want to make sure I stay there and play as many games as possible to keep progressing.
“Every day when I go out to train, I always want to be the best I can be, but with a game on the weekend you do concentrate that extra little bit harder.
“I’ve had times when I’ve been out of the team and haven’t been playing, and you do have those days in training when you can drift a little bit and lose concentration.
“When you’re playing, you seem to be more tunnel-vision focused on the job ahead, so it is that little bit different.”
This is just a small snippet of the full eight-page interview, in which McCarthy also opens up about:
- How he transformed his Saints career in a matter of months
- Why he likes to be the first to arrive for training every day
- The influence of Saints’ Head of Goalkeeping Dave Watson
- The competition he faces from Angus Gunn, Fraser Forster and Harry Lewis
- Why the squad is so motivated to avoid a repeat of last season’s struggle
- The prospect of a potential England call-up if his good form continues
Don’t forget you can pick up your copy of SAINTS from St Mary’s on matchday, or online at saintsprogrammes.co.uk.