Crowther talks the talk

Most footballers at some point in their careers will have found themselves struck by the commentator's curse.

Most footballers at some point in their careers will have found themselves struck by the commentator's curse.

But for young Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Reece Crowther commentary has brought anything but bad luck.

In fact, the 20-year-old cheerfully admits to talking his way through matches to ensure he remains focused.

"It was a guy called Tony Roberts who used to play for Millwall and QPR back in England [who suggested it to me]," Crowther explained.

"He said 'when the game's died down commentate the play. Just act like a commentator and commentate the game and stay focused'."

"If the camera pans on me you'll see me talking to myself the whole game. I do it out loud. I also like to break the game down into 10 minute periods."

By and large it is a technique that appears to be working for the shot stopper, who made his Phoenix debut in last weekend's 2-0 loss to Sydney in Round 4 of the Hyundai A-League.

While 'gutted' by the final score line, Crowther described his first-up performance as solid, although he endured one heart-stopping moment when Mark Bridge challenged his clearing kick and the ball missed the goal by centimetres.

"It probably wouldn't have been the best start to my Wellington Phoenix career," he said with a wry smile.

"Thankfully it went behind the goal and nothing came of it."

First-choice keeper Mark Paston is expected to be back in the starting side for this Friday's match against Adelaide United after staying in Wellington for the birth of son Jack last weekend.

Crowther though is keen to keep the heat on his team-mate and All Whites keeper.

"You want to do well and you want to prove to the fans and the club that you're a worthwhile signing," he said. "To get a game and do okay it's encouraging, although obviously the loss was disappointing."

"Realistically all I want to do is play and improve and help the Phoenix do well. That's my ultimate goal for the season."

"I haven't set a number of games I want to play but when I do play I want to make sure that I stake my claim and give a good example of myself."

Coach Ricki Herbert has been pleased with what he has seen from the youngster so far.

"He's only 20 and to get thrown in against Sydney away I think he controlled things well, apart from the little nervous moment when he didn't see Mark Bridge and probably heard everything from the bench - language he might not have appreciated," he said.

"He made a couple of very, very good saves and I can't blame him for the goals. His distribution and general awareness will grow as he grows. I was very pleased. He has a good future."