New Zealand national team goalkeeper Mark Paston believes the tough English lower leagues helped prepare him for the world stage.
The 33-year old has been in stellar form in the All Whites’ two World Cup draws thus far and says the English Championship, in which he played with Braford City and Walsall, got him ready for the big time.
"I had two groin surgeries and a shoulder surgery while I was in England,” the Wellington Phoenix stopper said.
"I came away with those scars. I think it was because there was a lot of kicking - I don't think my body was prepared for it."
New Zealand are preparing to take on Paraguay tonight and a win (or at least a draw, depending on the Italy v Slovakia result) is needed to qualify for the Round of 16 but Paston admits his side has absolutely nothing to lose as they are not expected to progress.
“We've got nothing to lose,” he added.
"At the start of the tournament people would have laughed at the idea of us progressing."