Callum Preston has reflected on his professional career and the loneliness of being a reserve goalkeeper.

The former Welshpool High School student is currently striving toward a career in the media having represented Birmingham City, Crawley Town and non-league Wrexham in the English pyramid during his professional career.

Preston said: “When you’re a No 2 goalkeeper, the frustration of watching the action with your nose pressed against an imaginary pane of glass is a regular feeling.

“Albeit, I was only 19 years old and warming a League Two bench whilst I learnt my trade, the frustration of not playing was still unbearable.

“It was an all too familiar feeling. A Saturday afternoon standing on a football pitch. As I began my pre match warm up routine, I knew this was likely to be the only taste of action and barring an unexpected turn of fortune, I would spend the game on the bench watching the action unfold just yards in front of me.”

Preston made 14 appearances for Crawley and represented the club at Portsmouth in front of 18,000 supporters before losing his place.

“I did feel part of it, but there’s a little point in your head when you think ‘I wish I was playing’

“There is only one shirt up for grabs and there’s not really much you can control, other than prepare right in case you’re needed.

“A fine example of this was when I put in two man of the match performances over the festive period for me to then lose my place in the team for a loan keeper, who had a clause in his contract stating he had to play”

Preston pointed to the goalkeeper’s union, an unbroken bond between shot stoppers.

“You share a bond because you understand the pressure they are feeling and highs and lows they are going through,” said Preston. “There is also an unwritten rule that you want be fair to each other, but we all know were here for the same reason.

“Goalkeepers want to play so while I’m not playing I feel its only fair to support the goalkeeper who is between the sticks but when I’m playing I expect the same in return.

“There are times when there’s a little animosity and while it is never personal I do not recommend sharing a four hour car journey back home, with the goalkeeper you have just dislodged from the team because the conversation has an air of awkwardness.

Preston conceded the inconsistent life of professional goalkeeper had been difficult.

“The biggest problem I faced was adjusting from not doing anything to suddenly having to perform under pressure in a cauldron of noise,” said Preston.

“When you are a No2 goalkeeper the only way back into the team and securing your future at the club and boosting your career is the starting goalkeeper getting injured or suspended which is not nice at all.

“When your name is on the team sheet, your pedigree rises, regardless if you’re the best player in your respective position with others injured or suspended.

“Battling the inner conflict isn’t the only challenge and most number two keepers yearn for the chance to show off their skills but a long stint on the bench can trigger anxiety and self doubt.

“Although there is a squad mentality in football, at the end of the day your not starting and the team is the least of your problems as a substitute goalkeeper.”