Oxford United progressed to the knock out stages of the Leasing.com Trophy with a 2-2 draw against Portsmouth last night, but there was one young man who is unlikely to forget the game.
18-year-old midfielder Fabio Sole came on to make his senior debut for the U’s after joining as a scholar from Reading earlier this season and was brave enough to take the first penalty in the shoot out after the final whistle.
“I’ve been here three or four months and I didn’t imagine I would be in or around the first team so quickly” he told iFollow after the game “but I am glad to have had the opportunity and now it’s up to me to keep working hard”.
“The Gaffer sent me to warm up ten minutes before the end and then called me back quite quickly so there wasn’t time to get nervous, which was probably a good thing! It happened too quickly and I knew I had to embrace the opportunity. Earlier in the day I had a few nerves, but I think it’s normal to be nervous around your first first team appearance so I was happy to come in and be part of it.”
“Because I had no time to be scared I went out there determined to enjoy it. I had a couple of nice enough touches and the senior players were great, really supportive and good to be around.”
It takes a little bit of bottle to step up and convert the first penalty in any shoot out but the ball-playing midfielder struck his spot kick nervelessly to give the U’s an early advantage.
“The Gaffer asked if I fancied the first one and I said I would take it. I didn’t really feel under any pressure at that moment in time I just concentrated on where I wanted to put the penalty and managed to do that. It was a great situation to be in but obviously disappointing to lose on penalties.
“But now we focus on the next game. For me it’s an under 18s game at Newport on Saturday but it’s good to be in the Manager’s thoughts and just keep working and take things day by day.”
See the full interview plus Highlights and the thoughts of Karl Robinson, all in iFollow.