Carson hoping for Cup chance
Scott Carson has seen enough photos from Wigan's FA Cup final hero Ben Watson to know just how highly the holders value the competition ahead of their semi-final showdown with Arsenal.
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Former England goalkeeper Carson, 28, was playing in Turkey for Bursaspor when Watson achieved FA Cup immortality by heading home a late winner against Manchester City at Wembley last May, etching Wigan's name on to a major trophy for the first time.
It is a moment midfielder Watson, currently sidelined by a broken leg, naturally recalls on a frequent basis to his neighbour at Latics' training ground.
"I've heard enough about Ben's goal," Latics stopper Carson admits.
"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 conceivably 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 instead 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."
Should Carson don the gloves on Saturday, he would play in his first competitive game at Wembley since a rainy evening 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.
Latics manager Rosler, who lost a play-off final with Brentford last season, claimed he was determined to leave Wembley with happier memories this time around but Carson believes time is a great healer in his case.
"It was a long time ago," he said.
"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 off these shores. The stopper believes he is richer for the experience of his two-year stint in Turkey, which ended this summer when Owen Coyle brought him to the DW Stadium.
"It was an experience," he notes 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.
"My experience of the football was great there, I didn't have any problems. The football is a little bit different to England, it doesn't have the pace of English football, but it was still good to go. I suppose any experience that you get by playing games, it's only going to help you."
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 of getting in that squad."