FA Cup: Scott Carson hoping to book place in Wigan folklore
Scott Carson is hoping to emulate team-mate Ben Watson in propelling Wigan to Wembley glory.
By Daniel Walters
Last Updated: 11/04/14 2:56pm
Watson secured his place in Wigan folklore by heading them to a last-minute victory against Premier League giants Manchester City in last season's final, securing their first ever FA Cup win in the process.
Former England goalkeeper Carson, 28, was playing in Turkey for Bursaspor when Watson achieved FA Cup immortality, and Carson admits Watson - currently sidelined by a broken leg - frequently recalls his winning goal to his neighbour at the Latics' training ground.
Carson said: "I've heard enough about Ben's goal. He sits next to me in the changing rooms and any photo that comes up he's saying to me 'have you seen this one?' with his header that he scored."
Carson could just as easily turn to images from his own career; he has a Champions League winners' medal from 2005 when he started for Liverpool against Juventus in the quarter-final before watching those dramatic scenes unfold in Istanbul as a substitute.
Nevertheless, the keeper is driven by a desire to emulate the majority of his Latics team-mates and achieve FA Cup success, should Uwe Rosler select him against the Gunners in place of Ali Al Habsi.
"I've played in a couple of big games but it'll be one of the biggest games - if I do play - that I'll have played in," said Carson, who was preferred to Al Habsi for the quarter-final win over Manchester City and played against Millwall in midweek.
"The FA Cup is the sort of competition you watch as a kid when you're growing up and there's no bigger competition for me personally. Hopefully I can play and do everything I can to get us to the final."
Carson has not played in a competitive match at Wembley since donning the gloves for England in November 2007 when his error contributed to England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008.
The 28-year-old allowed a long-range drive from Croatia's Niko Kranjcar to bounce over his arms in a 3-2 loss which cost Steve McClaren his job on one of the darkest nights in English football history.
Carson is looking to banish those dark memories this time around. He said: "It was a long time ago. We played there in the Community Shield and it's a great place to play football. It's just another game, that's the way we've got to look at it. Hopefully we can put a good performance in and we can come back in a few more weeks for the play-off final."
Like McClaren, Carson is one of the few Englishmen who have opted to move abroad. The keeper believes he is richer for the experience of his two-year stint in Turkey, which ended this summer when he signed for the Latics.
"It was an experience," he said of his time in Turkey. "It was tough; I enjoyed all the football out there it was just off the field was a lot different and a totally different culture. It was hard for my family, especially. It was good to get the experience but I was delighted to get back in the summer."
Carson was on Bursaspor's books when he won the most recent of his four England caps under Fabio Capello in 2011.
The Wigan goalkeeper has not given up hope of representing his country again, yet with Al Habsi ahead of him in the pecking order at the Sky Bet Championship club, there are plenty of obstacles in his way.
"I don't think - especially in the Championship - that's going to happen," Carson said of an England recall.
"Alex McCarthy got in the squad from Reading but I've said it all along since I've come here, I just want to try and cement my spot as number one here and get us back into the Premier League.
"England takes care of itself. If you're playing well in the Premier League you've always got half a chance."