Brentford's David Raya has explained how he developed his distribution ability, which has seen him become one of the best goalkeepers in Europe this season.

The Spaniard discussed his career so far with Stu Wakeford in the latest episode of My Journey, as they walked around the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Beginning with the start of his footballing career back in Spain, Raya admitted he wanted to play outfield as a youngster, which saw him improve his technical skills on a futsal pitch.

"When I was growing up, I would meet up with my friends at a futsal pitch about two minutes from my house," he explained.

"All my friends used to meet there every Sunday, and a lot of other people from the town used to play there as well. It would end up like a tournament, or you'd just go there to have fun.

"And obviously no one wanted to go in goal! So we took turns and, obviously, when I was playing outfield, that would develop my ability with the ball at my feet."

After eventually deciding that he did want to be a goalkeeper, Raya impressed back in his homeland, and a move to Championship side Blackburn Rovers eventually came about after a successful trial in England in 2011.

And he was eventually introduced to the rough and tumble of Championship football, when he suffered a horrific facial injury in a game against West Brom in 2018.

"What I remember, is that [Jay Rodriguez] had the ball outside of the box, he met one of my centre-backs, the ball went inside of the box, and I rushed out and caught it," Raya recalls.

"Instead of jumping, he left his foot [close to the ground] and, with my momentum, his boot has hit me straight in the face.

"I heard a massive crack and I thought it was my jaw, but I started [moving my mouth] and it was fine. But then I felt all the blood dropping from my nose. I just thought, 'S***, this is a bad one'.

"When Elliott Bennett and Harrison Reed came over to see me, they were nearly throwing up. They said my nose was underneath my lip...

"I had six or seven stitches - the bone had got stuck into my skull. That's all I remember. I went straight to the hospital. But I only missed one game!"

That setback clearly didn't affect Raya too much, as he continued to excel at Blackburn, before he signed for Brentford in 2019.

Despite missing out on promotion in his first season at the club, which saw him concede an extra-time free-kick to Fulham's Joe Bryan in the play-off final, the 'keeper bounced back and was pivotal in the Bees' promotion campaign the following year.

"[After the 2019/20 season], we only had 11 days off! Because of COVID, I couldn't go home, I didn't go back to Spain for 18 months, so it was a tough season," he stated.

"But that shows the work that the club, the staff and the players did to try and go again. We couldn't get automatically, but to get it done by the play-offs was incredible."

He added: "We were one year more experienced and, when we beat Bournemouth at home [in the play-off semi-final], I knew we were going to get promoted.

"We knew what to do, we knew the situation we were going to be in. I was so calm and so positive that we were going to get promoted that year."

Watch the full episode of David Raya's My Journey.