Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli is a proud man to be the Whites’ first choice goalkeeper and he knows that he has a lot of people to be thankful for.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Accrington Stanley and, after the departures of David Stockdale and Maarten Stekelenburg, was battling with Jesse Joronen for the number one spot.
The Finn was picked at the start of the season under Felix Magath and Bettinelli had to bide his time on the bench, given a chance in the 1-0 win at Brentford in the Capital One Cup and the 1-1 draw with Cardiff.
However, Kit Symons elected to promote the 22-year-old after he replaced Magath as manager.
“Personally I can’t thank Kit enough for the faith he’s had in me,” he said.
“I had a little taste of it under Felix [Magath]. It was very small but I got that taste and I was hungry for it.
“I was disappointed at the start of the season when Felix was in charge.
“I wanted to be playing like a number one and when Kit took over he said to me ‘I believe in you’ and gave me faith.
“I only thank him for that. I go out there every week, not just for Kit but the whole boys, the coaching staff and the fans.”
It’s not all been plain sailing for the 22-year-old as he struggled with injury as he was coming through the ranks and he admitted that those days have made him a better person for it.
“I think everybody has tough days but when you go through them they feel even tougher,” he explained.
“There’s been a few injuries but I’ve got past that now and Kit has put a lot of faith into me and I want to repay him.”
He added: “It’s made me stronger. The tough days in the gym were all worth it. It’s a long road.
“People don’t see what it takes to get here. It’s a long road and there are a lot of people who have put me in this situation.
“I’m thankful for a lot of people but once you get here you’ve got to stay here. I’ll take every game as it comes and I’ll give it my best and my all.”
Bettinelli’s form had seen him selected in the England Under-21s squad and he enjoyed the experience, even though a finger injury cost him a debut against the young Lions’ French counterparts.
“It was amazing,” he said. “I was very very proud to get into that squad.
“I’ve always dreamed about playing for my country. I was delighted to get into that squad.
“I’ve had a lot of tough days with injury but I’m happy with the faith Kit has put in me. If I keep on working hard, who knows?”
Bettinelli is ahead of experienced Hungarian Gabor Kiraly but he knows there he has to continue performing if he is to keep his place.
“Gabs has been tremendous,” he said. “He came in under Felix.
“He’s a great lad to work with. He’s a real character. He’s always bubbly and up for training.
“He helps me through. He’s an experienced head and played a numerous amount of games. I’m learning a lot from him.
“It’s not so much telling me information; it’s about watching and learning and see how he copes on and off the pitch.
“Some things aren’t going to be with you. You want to take bits into our own game.
“He’s fierce competition. Every day we go into competition but it’s healthy. We’re both trying to get the number one spot for the game.”