Brentford defender Chris Mepham admitted it was a bit of a shock to find himself in the starting XI on Friday night. The 20-year-old only found out 90 minutes before kick-off that he would be lining up at Carrow Road for the game against Norwich City. The start was Chris’ sixth appearance for The Bees and he feels that he has come a long way since his first outing in the first-team, which also came against The Canaries back in September.
“I was expecting to be on the bench,” admitted Chris to iFollow Brentford after the win. “John Egan didn’t feel too well before the game. The gaffer pulled me aside and told me to be ready because I might be starting. It was a quick turnover and then I was told I was starting. You have to get into the mindset that you are about to walk out in front of 25,000 fans. It was important that I took the opportunity. I don’t want to big myself up but I do feel that I have come a long way since that first Norwich City game. Sometimes you need a game to get used to the tempo of it. You need a game to experience the occasion. I like to think that I have overcome the nerves since that first game. The most important thing is to keep grounded and keep working hard.”
A first-half Lasse Vibe double proved decisive on Friday night with the Danish striker twice converting Romaine Sawyers’ through balls to put The Bees ahead. The home side pushed forward after the break but were thwarted by Chris and his teammates until the first minute of added time. Chris felt the team fully deserved their win and said that the late consolation goal from Nelson Oliveira was the only disappointment.
“Three points have been coming for a while,” reflected Chris. “We have had a few draws recently which we haven’t deserved. It was only a matter of time before we got the wins. We outplayed them all over the pitch and took our chances. I feel hard done by conceding late on. As a back four I thought that we were excellent and the midfield did well to protect us all over the pitch. It was important to get the three points in the end.
The busy Christmas period continues on Boxing Day with the visit of Aston Villa to Griffin Park before Sheffield Wednesday head to West London next Saturday. After getting the festive fixtures off to a good start Chris is confident that the wins will keep coming over the next few days and feels he has put himself in contention to keep his shirt.
“I just have to make sure that I look after myself,” said Chris. “At the end of the day it is my job to give him the biggest headache possible when it comes to picking the team. I’ll be more than happy whatever the outcome. It would be nice to keep the shirt and stay in the team. I understand that John Egan is the captain but I need to give Dean as big a headache as possible. I am confident going in the Christmas period that we will start picking up the wins. Throughout the season we have always done well against the bigger teams. Like Dean has said before there are no better games to have. They are big tests and normally we come through them well.”