(Picture: Action Images)
Wimbledon goalkeeper James Shea has revealed he turned down the chance to leave the club on loan in the summer, and wants fight for a regular place in the starting eleven.
The 25-year-old shot-stopper made his first appearance of the season at the weekend, as the Dons claimed their first away win of this campaign in impressive fashion, coming from behind to claim a memorable 2-1 victory at Charlton.
Before Saturday, Shea had only played once since January, as his route to the first team last season was blocked by the arrival of Derby loanee Kelle Roos in February.
He has also struggled this season, playing second fiddle to summer signing Ryan Clarke, but his inclusion at the Valley on Saturday was certainly justified as he made a string of important saves in the early stages.
Shea told the South London Press: “It’s been very tough, I’m not going to lie, when I got dropped last season and then didn’t start this season. Could I have gone on loan? Maybe.
“Not much really came up – one thing in the Conference. But I didn’t want to leave at the first sign of competition. I wanted to give it a good hard go here, especially playing League One football.”
Despite spending long periods on the bench, after getting his head down in training, and working hard with goalkeeping coach Ashley Bayes, Shea was rewarded for his graft, and played a vital role in the victory over the Addicks.
He made an array of eye-catching saves to keep his side in the game as Charlton dominated, before the Dons hauled themselves back into the game, and Shea spoke of his delight to be back in the team.
He said: “I’m just pleased to be back in the team. It’s great chance to get to play in front of God knows how many Wimbledon fans.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but it’s like any other game. I was buzzing to get the win. It’s a massive result for the club. To get any sort of win in this league is going to be tough.”