JAK ALNWICK admits Sunday’s League Cup semi-final will be the biggest game of his career to date – but the goalkeeper won’t be getting nervous.
The 24-year-old says he rarely suffers from nerves as he gears up for his first appearance in the last four of a major competition and his Hampden Park debut. His mum won’t be watching though. While Alnwick keeps calm and collected he says his mum can’t watch him play.
The stopper who arrived in Glasgow from Port Vale in January has been handed the reins in the Betfred Cup ahead of Wes Foderingham for this season.
Speaking to RangersTV Alnwick smiled: “When I was back down south and playing I had the FA Cup but to get to a semi-final and be playing on the big stage is an exciting thing and I can’t wait for it.
“I think you’d have to say it’s the biggest game of my career so far. You look at my past career and I have played in the Premier League but any semi-final of any cup is always going to be one of your biggest games.
“When there is a chance of getting into the final and possibly winning another trophy it means it has got to be your biggest game.
“I don’t really get nerves, I used to get more nervous playing for younger age groups because you are expected to do well but now I have come to terms with it and I think everybody says I look too relaxed at times!
“That is just my character and I am not one who gets too nervous, sometimes it is good to have a bit of nerves but I feel good ahead of this one.
“I saw that we were going to have 38,000 fans there, my parents rang me and said they had increased our allocation so it is going to be similar to a home game with our atmosphere.
“I am used to the big crowds now and I think it is going to be an unbelievable atmosphere from the fans to try and give us a chance of getting into the final.
“My dad has grown up watching my brother and me and we have both been at teams that have done pretty well but haven’t quite got there.
“My mam doesn’t like coming to the games, she gets too nervous, but my dad is more excited that he is getting the chance to watch me play in a semi-final.
“My mum used to be able to come and watch but she can’t do it anymore, I think after the Chelsea game when I came on for Newcastle that was enough to send her over the edge.
“My brother (Ben Alnwick) is at Bolton and they had a promotion last season but I still think being in a semi-final is a huge thing for us.”
Alnwick’s semi-final bow will be his fourth appearance in a Rangers shirt, having made his debut against St Johnstone in the final Premiership game of the 2016/17 season.
So is it difficult to keep up the spectacular form and reactions which he showed against Partick Thistle in the last round of the Betfred Cup when you’re not playing often?
He said: “I think it is easier when you’re playing week in and week out to keep yourself ticking over but when you train hard every day and know there is chance to play you have to be ready no matter whether it is a cup game or a league one.
“It is tough to keep yourself going when you are playing maybe just once every month but that is what you have to look forward to and you have to push yourself knowing that is coming up.
“When you are not playing it is a lot harder work in training in terms of drills with the team and a lot of shooting whereas when I am playing I prefer to relax a little bit more.
“If I was being honest with myself I think I have done pretty well, it is tough getting one game here and one game there and for that I have been happy with my performances.
“Hopefully I can keep going with that on Sunday and we can go on to win the trophy.
“I am one of those players who needs to keep training hard and I know some players, not those here, can get through a week just ticking over week to week.
“I need to go all out every single day and sometimes it pays off, I am hoping that is why it paid off against Partick and I hope I continue to do it.”
RangersTV subscribers can watch a full interview with Jak Alnwick on Sunday to preview the match against Motherwell at Hampden.