He might have previously played in the Champions League for Liverpool but Blackpool skipper Jay Spearing insists he still gets nervous at the prospect of testing himself against the very best.
Spearing will line up for the Seasiders tonight when they welcome Premier League giants Arsenal to Bloomfield Road for their FA Cup third round clash.
Having figured against clubs including Real Madrid and Napoli during his time at Anfield, you’d be forgiven for thinking the 30-year-old would be used to these type of encounters, but the Pool skipper says that isn’t the case.
“This is what you’re in the game for, you want to test yourselves against the best,” Spearing said.
“Okay, I’ve maybe been at that level but I still get nervous about it and I still get excited about it and I want to show what I’m about, as do the rest of the lads.
“I still believe in myself, I still believe that I can kick on. Even though I’m 30 now I feel the best I have for a long time.
“I feel fit, I feel alive and I’m enjoying football. I want to compete against the best and at the highest level.
“If that time comes, then great, but if not I’ll just keep cracking on and keep doing the best I can to my ability.”
Tonight will be the second time that Blackpool will have faced Arsenal this season, having narrowly lost in their last-16 Carabao Cup tie at the Emirates back in October.
“I can’t see there being a lot of difference between this game and the one in the Carabao Cup,” Spearing added.
“Yes, the pitch might be a massive factor. We obviously know their pitch is like a carpet and ours is a little bit different to that.
“They’re going to have to try and adapt to it. They are world class players and they probably will be able to adapt, but we’re going to go into it with the same mentality.
“We believe that we came away from the Emirates last time a little bit disappointed we didn’t get anything out of the game.
“We gave a great account of ourselves and we’ll look to do that again on Saturday.
“I would have thought they will play a stronger team, but you never know. We don’t know who he (Unai Emery, Arsenal manager) is going to bring.
“Either way there’s going to be a wealth of experience in there and whoever comes, it’s a free hit for us.
“It’s away from our league games, it’s a cup game, we’ve got nothing to lose and it’s on TV and the lads can compete against some of the biggest internationals in the world and just enjoy it.
“Coming away from the league into the FA Cup, it’s one of the biggest cup competitions in the world and we’re really excited and looking forward to it.
“For the players, I don’t think it’s about putting themselves in the shop window, I think it’s just to get themselves on TV and enjoy the occasion.
“These occasions don’t come around very often.
“As a professional footballer in the lower leagues like League One, you get into these cup runs and you’re looking for that ball in the draw to be a big team.”