Taylor-Fletcher in his element
Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher feels he has more than earned his right to play in the Premier League.
Last Updated: 21/08/10 12:34pm
Blackpool midfielder Gary Taylor-Fletcher says he has earned his right to rub shoulders with the elite in the Premier League.
The 29-year-old is set to run out at Emirates Stadium on Saturday when the Seasiders take on Arsenal in their second league outing since their promotion from the Championship last season.
And Taylor-Fletcher, who has played for eight different clubs in 11 years en-route to the top flight, feels the hard work he has put in over his career makes him more than worthy of playing against some of the biggest names in football.
"I've had to work hard for years to get here so nobody can say I haven't earned the right to finally match myself against the very best," Taylor-Fletcher told the Sun.
"It's been a lifelong dream which has now become an incredible whirlwind adventure and I intend to savour every minute of it."
Taylor-Fletcher scored the Tangerines' first ever Premier League goal last weekend as they enjoyed the dream start to their campaign with a comprehensive 4-0 rout of Wigan.
And although the midfielder is expecting a big test at the Emirates on Saturday, he feels Blackpool have the potential to cause problems for the north London giants.
"Arsenal are a great team full of internationals with one of the best managers in the game. They play the type of football that everyone wants to watch, they are unbelievable," he said.
"It's all very surreal and, yes, you do have to pinch yourself at times to remind yourself that it's finally happened.
"But you also have to think it's my chance to prove I am good enough, that we are good enough.
"I know as a small team you can raise your game sometimes in a one-off match. But we are in the top league now and we have to raise our game 38 times this season to compete. And I'm sure we will.
"I promise you we're not just here to make up the numbers - we are going to have a go."
Taylor-Fletcher believes Blackpool's debut season in the top flight could alert England manager Fabio Capello to some of the club's players, and has tipped defender Alex Baptiste to catch the Italian's eye.
"Fabio Capello's bound to be at one of our games when we play one of the big teams," he added.
"And I know he's looking for fresh faces - although maybe at 29 I've missed my chance.
"But he should take a look at Alex Baptiste, he's definitely one for the future."