Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli is looking forward to the new campaign – and wants to put a year of heartache behind him.
A season that started so promisingly, with an England call-up, ended with him being dropped, having knee surgery and suffering relegation. The Fulham academy graduate wants to put all these problems behind him and help the Whites back to the top flight.
Football can be a cruel game. I do not think anyone enjoyed last season and it is sad, really, because we came into the league with a lot of hope and momentum. I never want to experience that again.
It was obviously tough to take when the club signed two goalkeepers last summer. It was hard because I feel like I had done enough to keep my spot and I am sure there were a lot of lads who felt the same as I did after doing well in the Championship.
I got into the team and when I look back now would I have done anything differently? Probably not. I do not feel like I deserved to get pulled out of the team. I got some criticism for the amount of goals we conceded but as the season went on it was plain and clear that you could have had David De Gea and Manuel Neuer, or both of them at the same time, and we still would have conceded goals.
I went and saw Slav. He was a good person. He said he did not think I had been playing that badly but he wanted to try and get a reaction from the team after three or four defeats. Did I feel it was unfair at the time? Yeah, of course I did. Did I feel it was unfair I did not get a chance under Claudio Ranieri? Yeah, of course I did.
But everything happens for a reason and it is in the past now. I am just looking forward to this season and trying to get back to the Premier League where we should be.
Bettinelli has been reinstated as the club’s number one by Scott Parker, whom he played with at Craven Cottage, and he is positively buoyant about being given the new manager’s backing.
I have been crying out for a season like this since 2014-15. This will be the first time I have ever started the first game of the season. It is nice to know Scotty believes in me. As soon as Scotty took over last season you could feel a change at the club. There is a different feeling of pride now and wanting to win games like the year we went up. For a long time this club has had this sloppy mentality and last season it all kind of fell apart. It is a different feeling and a different mentality in the dressing room now.