Mickey Demetriou has vowed to stick even closer to Harry Kane when Newport County go to Wembley for their FA Cup fourth round replay.
The County defender left Kane for a fleeting moment during Saturday night’s epic tie at Rodney Parade and that was all it needed for the England striker to save Tottenham Hotspur from defeat with an 82nd minute equaliser.
But Demetriou believes he and his teammates will have learned much from their experience in front of almost 10,000 fans and will not be daunted for their visit to the temporary home of the Premier League giants.
“It was a good experience to go up against Harry Kane”, said 27-year-old Demetriou, who joined County on a free transfer from Cambridge United two seasons ago.
“You watch it in the Premier League week-in, week-out so to experience it will only make you better. I was glad when I saw his name in the team sheet. It proved their respect for the club.
“They’d obviously seen that we’ve won a few games recently and they needed to win the game. They put out players they thought could win the game and thankfully they didn’t.
“But it was just one 30-second gap where we didn’t have control of him (Kane) and we were punished.
“You want to test yourselves against the best players in the world and they had a few of them out there. They had to bring Dele Alli off the bench because they were losing the game which is a good sign for the football club.
“We were beating that Spurs side and it wasn’t full of youngsters. We’ve now got big league games on Tuesday and Saturday and then the replay to look forward to.”
Demetriou could achieve a rare sporting double by appearing at the home of English football, having already graced the home of English cricket.
A decade ago he played for Sussex cricket club Findon at Lord’s, although he finished on the losing side.
“When I was growing up I played cricket for my local team Findon and we got through to the final of the National Village Cup.
“The final is always at Lord’s so that was a big experience for me as a 17-year-old. I was an all-rounder, I didn’t get to bat that day but I bowled a few overs.
“That was a great experience, but playing at Wembley will be even bigger for me.
“If I stay for the next two games and I am selected, and I can play at the home of football as well as the home of cricket, then that really will be a tick off the sheet.”
Demetriou’s Findon team lost that National Village Cup final in 2007 to Yorkshire side Woodhouse Grange by six wickets.
But he is not giving up on Newport’s chances of upsetting Spurs after coming within eight minutes of delivering a major cup shock at Rodney Parade.
“It will be a completely different game with them at home, they will be used to the width and size of the pitch.
“But we took them all the way at Rodney Parade and dug deep to get a result, so who knows what can happen in the replay?”
“After the first game they won’t rest everyone, they will come out with a strong side again.
“We took them to the 80th minute and before that they didn’t have too many clear cut changes, which is credit to us as a team.
“We wanted to pay the big teams and we’ve done that, but also we’ve got a result to give the club a massive boost.
“When you’re disappointed you’ve drawn with a Premier League team, it says it all. We took them all the way but we dug deep to get a result and who knows what can happen in the replay?”