Luton stopper reveals his social medial blew up after a Premier League debut against Fulham

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Town stopper thrilled to receive so many messages following Cottagers clash

Town goalkeeper James Shea revealed how his social media went through the roof after making his Premier League debut during the Hatters’ final game of the season against Fulham last month.

With Luton’s relegation to the Championship all but officially confirmed, the popular 32-year-old, who had been named on the bench for the contest, was called on by manager Rob Edwards to replace Thomas Kaminski for the final 15 minutes​ and earned what was his 108th appearance for the club since joining in July 2017.

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Roared on to the pitch by the Town fans, his every following touch was cheered by an appreciative Kenilworth Road crowd, who were soon out of their seats when Shea leapt to his left to brilliantly touch Tom Cairney’s long-range attempt over the bar. Another clearance followed that was also met with a huge ovation, as discussing his cameo and the reaction which came afterwards, particularly online, the ex-Arsenal youngster said: “I absolutely loved it, I absolutely loved it. One of the things that really got me which I loved was how pleased everyone was for me, honestly it meant everything to me.

"I had boys messaging me after saying congratulations on your debut and they don’t have to do that, but it just means a lot to me that everyone was so happy for me. My Twitter and Instagram went off on one, it was unbelievable! I’ve never had so many messages in all my life! I had a message from Kev Dearden (head of goalkeeping) funnily enough which said, you only played 15 minutes and you’ve broken the internet. I did reply, saying it was a good 15 minutes!”

On what was running through his mind when Cottagers captain Cairney found some space and drew back that wand-like left foot of his, Shea continued: “As soon as he got the ball I was thinking here we go, don’t shoot, don’t shoot! Or please don’t go in, please don’t go in! It's always nice to make a couple of saves, it just feels like you’ve done a bit more. I just wanted a few little passes, a few little touches, I didn’t want to be too busy, but I was just buzzing I didn’t concede a goal.”

Shea was also left hugely thankful for the welcome he received from Town’s supporters as well, who were thrilled to see the League One Golden Glove winner get his chance on the big stage, saying: "That’s the first time they’ve sung my name since I’ve been here! I thought what is this? I like this! The reception I got just coming on was unbelievable and then I made a save and every time I touched the ball I got a cheer. I know it was only 15 minutes, but I’ve played in the Prem and no-one can ever take it away from me. It was probably up there with the best thing that’s ever happened to me."

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The level of Luton’s support is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by those outside of Kenilworth Road this term, with the Hatters followers applauding their players and staff off after every single match, whatever the result. It was something that clearly meant a lot to the players, especially as they picked up just six league wins all season, with Shea adding: “After every single game, win, lose or draw and don’t get me wrong, we had some tough games this year, but no matter what, the fans were there clapping us off. They’ve been absolutely incredible.”

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