BE FRANK, IT’S A COME­DOWN!

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

EX­ACTLY three years ago, to the day, Frank Field­ing was the name on ev­ery­one’s lips – the Black­burn re­serve thrust into the na­tion’s con­scious­ness fol­low­ing Eng­land’s dis­as­trous World Cup cam­paign.

On Au­gust 11, 2010, Field­ing was sat on the Wem­b­ley bench while 72,024 fans watched the Three Lions beat Hun­gary 2-1 in their first game since be­ing elim­i­nated in the knock­out stages in South Africa.

A dearth of goal­keep­ers had forced Fabio Capello’s hand. Ben Foster had with­drawn while Field­ing’s Black­burn team­mate Paul Robin­son had just re­tired from in­ter­na­tional football.

An Eng­land call-up at the age of 23, hav­ing never played a first-team game for Rovers, was re­mark­able.

To­day he’s pre­par­ing to keep goal for Bris­tol City in front of what is ex­pected to be the small­est league crowd ever recorded at Northamp­ton’s Six­fields Sta­dium – due to a boy­cott from Coven­try City fans.

The sense of per­spec­tive is not lost on Field­ing, who this sum­mer was let go by Derby af­ter be­ing deemed sur­plus by Nigel Clough.

“It wasn’t an ideal way to end, but the boss wanted to do his own thing,” said Field­ing, who made 64 ap­pear­ances for the Rams af­ter join­ing from Black­burn in 2011.

“I don’t re­ally know what hap­pened to­wards the end. I got sent off (against Peter­bor­ough in April) and never played again, but I can’t change some­one else’s opin­ion, he didn’t want to play me.

“I have mas­sive re­spect for Nigel and what he’s done for Derby, he gave me the chance and I have loads of friends there.There’s no hard feel­ings to­wards any­one at the club.

“Ob­vi­ously play­ing for Eng­land was my ca­reer high­light so far, and I’ll never for­get it.

“It was sur­real re­ally. I was play­ing for the U21s, at Bris­tol and Stu­art Pearce called me in the morn­ing be­fore we played Uzbek­istan and said ‘af­ter the game you’re join­ing the se­niors’.

“I thought he was jok­ing, and then all of a sud­den I was sat on the bench against Hun­gary at Wem­b­ley.

“To see some­one like Joe Hart up close was bril­liant, I’d never met him be­fore. He came across re­ally hum­ble and I think that has some­thing to do with the fact he came from the lower leagues.”

Field­ing, too, has served his time in the lower leagues. He played a key role in Rochdale’s suc­cess­ful 2010 pro­mo­tion cam­paign in League Two.

He’s also played at Northamp­ton and Wy­combe, but the 25-year-old doesn’t con­sider his move to Ash­ton Gate this sum­mer a step down – more a chance to get his name back into peo­ple’s thoughts.

“I don’t re­ally think of it as go­ing back­wards, as soon as I spoke to the gaffer (Sean O’Driscoll) I knew it was an op­por­tu­nity too good to turn down,” added Field­ing, who was sub­se­quently called up by Eng­land in 2011 for the Euro 2012 qual­i­fiers against Bul­garia and Wales.

“John Ruddy has done the same, he has done the lower league cir­cuit and he was linked with a move to Chelsea this sum­mer and he’s now in and around the Eng­land set-up.

“It’s good to see play­ers who have spent time in the lower leagues do­ing well.You can never say never as far as I’m con­cerned, but I just want to con­cen­trate on get­ting pro­moted this year with Bris­tol City.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

CHANG­ING SCENE: Frank Field­ing with Bris­tol City. Right: Train­ing with Joe Hart for Eng­land

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