Scott Wootton would have no problem stepping into the breach if Jonny Evans is ruled out of Manchester United's Premier League trip to Newcastle on Sunday.
Wootton has been catapulted into United's first-team squad thanks to the injury crisis that has already robbed Sir Alex Ferguson of three central defenders, and leaves him at risk of being without a fourth if Evans cannot shake off the effects of a dead leg.
The 21-year-old made his first senior start against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup and came off the substitutes' bench in Tuesday's Champions League win over Cluj in Romania. "It is always the way," Wootton said. "As a young player, obviously you don't wish injuries on someone, but that's how you might get your chance."
He added: "I got my chance against Newcastle through injuries. It's just the way it is. To make my competitive debut in the League Cup and then to come on and play in the Champions League is a great feeling. It's something I'm made up with."
Wootton had a rather unconventional route to the United first team in that he hails from Birkenhead and was initially on Tranmere's books. However, it was not long before Liverpool were showing an interest and he moved to their academy.
United always kept in touch though, and when Wootton hesitated over signing scholarship forms with the Anfield outfit, the Red Devils made their move.
"I wasn't too sure whether I was going to sign (for Liverpool)," said Wootton. "United invited me down for a week's trial and said they wanted to sign straight after that. It was really good."
How quickly Wootton has gone from cheering Manchester United's first team to sharing a dressing room with them. Yet Wootton insists he is trying to do everything just the same.
"You want to progress as a footballer and these are the next steps," he said. "For young players at a lot of top clubs the League Cup is where the managers embed them into the team, so obviously I was delighted with that.
"But in all these situations, it would be wrong to do anything different than you would normally. Obviously there are some extra special things like the team talks, coming away with the first team and the fans, which are different from what you're are used to. But you just try and concentrate on your football just the same."
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- Scott Wootton
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