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Interviews

Legendary Leeds tale inspires Nik at a ‘special’ time

27 April 2021

Nik Tzanev has grafted since 2017 to be our number one and he hasn’t had far to turn for inspiration as he seeks to be a big part of Wimbledon’s future.

Nik’s recent penalty save versus Northampton brought back memories of our goalkeeping greats from the past, including our Club President Dickie Guy denying Leeds legend Peter Lorimer’s spot-kick in 1975.

“I have met Dickie in the past and he explained the whole Leeds United story! It’s an honour for me to follow in the footsteps of some great Wimbledon goalkeepers and to make history with that. To make the first penalty save at Plough Lane was massive and that will stay with me until the end of my career, and until the day I die."

Nik, who joined us four years ago and was first a part of one of our matchday squads for the game versus Oldham at the end of 2016/17, can't wait to play in front of a crowd at Plough Lane.

“I’m just looking forward to playing in front of our fans at the new stadium and it’s going to be amazing to be a part of it. Going through all the graft when I was not playing, and now finally being at the point where I can play at the new stadium just makes it that bit more special.”

Ahead of tonight’s important match at home to Rochdale, Nik spoke with confidence about the challenge ahead and the defensive strength shown in recent weeks.

“We are going to come out on Tuesday night and give everything. We are going to push as hard as we can to get that win and secure the place.

“I feel like I’m one of the older ones here! Me and ‘Nighty’ are probably the ones that have been here the longest now. I came here initially just as a training keeper and I signed until the end of the season. I managed to get on the bench at the end of that season. It has been a bit of a slow procedure, but I’m happy with the place I’m at now.

“The defenders trust me. If I shout ‘keeper’s’ they back off and try to block their opponents. Trust is massive because they have to believe in me to come for through balls because we are playing such a high line. Trust is key, so that there’s no miscommunication or misunderstanding when coming out for the ball. I think that friendship and relationship we have between us has been really good.”

“A lot of credit to Bayzo for keeping me ready for this whole time. It is frustrating not playing, and I’ve never really had a run of games, but now I’m really happy and just fortunate that Robbo has put his faith in me.

“I am loving it, just week in and week out playing games. I’m getting a consistent run of games, and I think that’s what I needed in the past. At Sutton I got that, to show what I could do, and now getting it here I’m progressing every week. I’m gaining new experiences and building myself up as a player and as a man as well, so I think that’s all been really positive.”


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