By Giuseppe Muro

James Shea has revealed he treated Arsenal’s FA Cup game at Old Trafford as “a game of football with his mates”.

When Wojciech Szczesny’s finger injury left Arsène Wenger with a shortage of first-team goalkeeping options, the 19-year-old was drafted in as Manuel Almunia’s deputy for the trip to Manchester United on March 12.

Shea was the first player to run out for his warm-up and received a magnificent reception from the travelling 9,000 Arsenal fans before taking his seat on the bench. The magnitude of a cup tie between two old rivals may have got the better of some - but Shea admits he wasn’t fazed by the occasion.

“I wasn’t nervous to be honest,” he told “I just try to see it as playing a game of football with my mates.

“I felt quite cool, calm and collected but it was amazing. I remember watching Arsenal versus Manchester United games when I was younger and I always thought I would love to be there one day. Even though I didn’t play, just being involved with the first team was great.
“I was only sitting on the bench but it was a great experience for an Arsenal fan.”

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5 Apr 2011