The ex-Liverpool mans Middlesbrough side beat Manchester United on penalties in round four and now face Tottenham for a place in the quarter-finals

“Scoring the winning penalty at Old Trafford – it doesn’t get much better for a Scouser, does it?”

At 35, Lee Peltier could have been forgiven for wondering if his glory days were behind him.

But with the FA Cup, you’ve always got a chance.

Middlesbrough certainly took theirs in the fourth round, knocking out Manchester United after an epic penalty shootout in front of the Stretford End.

And having vanquished Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba & Co., the reward for Chris Wilder’s side is a home tie against Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tottenham, with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.

“It’s a great tie,” Peltier tells GOAL. “Personally, I’d have loved Liverpool away, but this isn’t a bad one!

“To get a team like Tottenham, and at home too, it’s exciting. Even for me, at my age, it’s one you can’t wait for, and I know the fans will be right up for it. It’s what the FA Cup is all about.”

Peltier laughs as he recalls his big moment at Old Trafford. Brought on for extra-time, he watched as 14 consecutive penalties were scored during the shootout. Suddenly, it was his turn.

“I’ve never taken a penalty in my life!” he says. “I mean, I’ll have a bash in training, but it’s a bit different in front of 71,000 at the Stretford End, isn’t it?”

He kept his nerve, dispatching his penalty high past Dean Henderson, and a few seconds later Anthony Elanga had blazed his effort over the bar, meaning Boro and their 10,000 supporters could celebrate.

“It was an amazing atmosphere,” Peltier says. “I know it’s the back end of my career, but I can say it’s one of the highlights, definitely.

“I got back into the dressing room and looked at my Twitter mentions, and the first one I saw was from Robbie Fowler. He said my pen was like Jamie Carragher in the [2001] League Cup final. Nice one, Robbie!”

He adds: “We believed we could beat them. We’ve been in good form, and with the way United have been of late, we proper fancied ourselves. We went in there confident.

“We knew they’d put a strong team out, but it’s not the Man United of old. Old Trafford hasn’t got that same fear factor at the moment.

“Back in the day, you’d go there and you’d just know you were going to get turned over. It’s a bit different now.”

Peltier’s young son was in the stands, and he would leave with a special memento from the night.

“He got Marcus Rashford’s shirt,” Peltier says. “I’d sort of pre-arranged it with him before the game, but after we won, I sort of left it. I didn’t want to push it.

“But he sent it into the changing room for me, which was just boss of him. The little fella was absolutely made up.”

Toxteth-born Peltier joined Middlesbrough from West Brom last summer, and recently reached the 500-game landmark.

His career started at Liverpool, where he would make four first-team appearances, playing alongside the likes of Fowler, Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso.

“I don’t look back often, but when I do, I’m proud,” he says. “I’ve done everything I wanted to do.

“You look at the stats of how many academy players go on to make it, and it’s scary. So, to play one game professionally, never mind 500, it’s unbelievable. For a lad from Toxteth, from Campion High school, I’ll take that!”

He has no regrets from his time with Liverpool’s first team under Rafa Benitez. He played at Anfield, played in the Champions League and was able to marvel at the skill and mentality of stars such as Gerrard on a day-to-day basis.

“I was starstruck,” he laughs. “They were superstars to me. I’d lose sleep over going in to train with Gerrard and Carragher, Alonso, Fowler, those lads.

“Nowadays, young lads are much braver, much more confident when they come up. But back then you’d be scared to even talk to a senior player.

“Honestly, try training with Craig Bellamy. Bloody hell, it was a nightmare! If you weren’t on point, he would tell you straight, no messing around. The arms would be up in the air, you’d get the look, and it’d be ‘Oh sh*t, what have I done?’

“And that’s just in the warm-up!”

Peltier, naturally, hopes to feature against Spurs, but beyond that he has his eye on a third promotion from the Championship, having achieved the feat previously with both Cardiff and West Brom.

Middlesbrough sit eighth at present, but are only two points outside the play-off spots and playing well under Wilder, the former Sheffield United manager.

Peltier has spent the majority of his career in the Championship, and insists the level is better, and a lot closer to the Premier League, than many people think.

“There are some very good players in this league,” he says. “You look at some of them who have gone on and done it in the Prem: Callum Wilson, Ollie Watkins, Demarai Gray. Jude Bellingham came from the Championship.

“At Boro, we’ve got a lad called Dael Fry who could definitely make the step up, and I look at people like Ben Brereton Diaz at Blackburn, and Fabio Carvalho from Fulham. He looks like a real prospect. He’ll play in the Premier League for sure.”

Carvalho, of course, has been attracting strong interest from Liverpool, and Peltier hopes the 19-year-old will be lining up at Anfield next season.“They don’t tend to get it wrong when they buy players, do they?” he says. “Just look at Diogo Jota. I played against him for two years when he was at Wolves and I was at Cardiff, and he’d give me a torrid time. I knew he’d be a Premier League player, and a good one.

“He played as a left-winger then, and we used to do man-to-man marking. I used to say to [Neil] Warnock, ‘How do you expect me to mark this fella?!’ He was so strong, so mobile. He was game, he’d get stuck in, he’d give you a bit of verbal. He never stopped.

“I remember thinking, ‘Here we go, a lad from Portugal, Championship, let’s see how he fancies it. But he fancied it! He just kept coming back and coming back. He was superb.”

In the meantime, Peltier and Middlesbrough’s focus is clear. Promotion is in their sights, and so are Spurs.

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