Chris Kettings has admitted that his first outing in Crystal Palace colours came as a “surprise” – but is now targeting more game time for the Eagles during their American tour.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper played the second half of Palace’s 13-1 victory over GAK Graz in Austria last week as manager Tony Pulis gave the former Blackpool man his first taste of action for the club since moving to south London last month.
It was the perfect ending to a gruelling week for Kettings who, along with fellow goalkeepers Julian Speroni, Wayne Hennessey and Lewis Price, was included in the gaffer’s gruelling fitness regime in the Austrian hills.
Speaking to cpfc.co.uk at the team's current base in Columbus, Ohio, Kettings said: “It was a good experience. I didn’t expect to play out there to be honest so it was a good little surprise for me to get 45 minutes. The lads played well and got a good win so it was a good night all in all.
“The training was definitely different to what I’ve been used to. At Blackpool, every pre-season I’ve done the keepers have just gone off and done their little bit, but the gaffer here likes the keepers to do the running and join in with the lads.
“It’s good in a way because it builds up good team camaraderie, good team spirit, and gets everybody involved. It was tough, but I think everyone enjoyed it. You feel better for it afterwards.”
While that pre-season camp has allowed Kettings to bond with the entire Palace squad, the Scotland under-21 international reserved special words of praise for his fellow goalkeepers and coach George Wood for the impact they have already had on his fledgling career.
“They are all great,” he said. “They’ve got international experience and Jules has been at the club for 10 years and made so many appearances, so they’ve all got massive experience behind them. It’s just good to learn from them.
“I’m rooming with Pricey at the minute so I talk to him a lot, but I’ve got to know them all and they’ve helped me settle in dead easy.
“Having all the different angles from Jules, from Wayne, from Pricey and George is massive – they all have different inputs and can improve different aspects of your game. To have all of that around you is really good.”
But although Kettings is getting on well with his new teammates, he is now setting himself the target of challenging for their places in the first team fold at Selhurst Park.
“You don’t go to a club to just sit in the background and enjoy training,” Kettings said.
“You want to push and push and push, whether than means going out on loan or being number three or four here, I don’t know what the plan is for me at the minute.
“I just want to do the best I can and push to get game time, wherever that may be.
“Hopefully I’ll get a bit more this week. We’ve got three games, so I’d love to get some more game time.
“I don’t know what the gaffer’s plans are, whether he wants to start playing his first 11 or not, but I’ll be grateful for any pitch time I can get.”