SWINDON Town goalkeeper Steven Benda says it felt ‘unbelievable’ to make his Football League debut against Plymouth Argyle last weekend.

The Swansea City loanee made a handful of good saves and came for crosses with immaculate precision at the Energy Check County Ground in Town’s 1-1 draw with the Pilgrims in League Two, days after being forced to pick the ball out of his net three times in the EFL Trophy fixture against the same opposition.

Last Saturday’s league match was just the 21-year-old’s sixth competitive outing – Benda played four times in Swansea U21s’ 2017-18 EFL Trophy campaign – but the six-foot-three stopper revealed nerves were few and far between beforehand while completely disappearing as soon as he had stepped out onto the pitch against the Pilgrims.

Nerves would have been understandable perhaps, given the German was forced to wait so long for his opportunity as the experienced Luke McCormick went from undisputed number one to suffering from a lack of confidence that would ultimately cost him his starting spot.

However, now he holds the position, Benda has no plans to hand the gloves back to the 37-year-old and is eyeing a course of development which will only continue to trend upwards.

Benda said: “I had to wait for my chance here. I’ve been working really hard and training really well, so to finally get my chance was really good for me.

“It’s tough when you join a new team and you don’t know your new team-mates and how they play.

“But I think I’ve had two good games, and I felt comfortable even though we didn’t get the results we wanted.

“Those two games were like a marker for me, so I want to stay at that level all the time now.

“There will be games where I play better and worse, but I want to try and keep building on that level and keep improving.”

Benda’s very first appearance for Richie Wellens’ side saw him guard the net in front of around 1,000 fans – 10 times more than he had regularly been used to while playing for Swansea’s youth groups.

Fast forward a few more days and it was 10 times that once more as 2,500 travelling Plymouth fans helped produce a near-10,000 crowd for the German’s league debut.

The former 1860 Munich man believes he is perfectly able to adapt to performing well in front of ever-increasing crowds, even when the fans behind him are not wishing him well.

Benda said: “The two games were completely different in terms of atmosphere, but it’s the same from last year when I was playing U23s.

“I was playing in front of 100 or 200 fans, but playing in front of 10,000 fans was obviously completely different.

“It felt unbelievable to be out on the pitch.

“I tried to block the away fans out and concentrate on my game, but hearing some things from the crowd, it gave me motivation to play well.

“You need a thick skin as a goalkeeper, but I think I have that.”