Minutes after the Captain was pulled out of the hat against Dave Harold, I grabbed few words with him overlooking the great Wembley pitch.
Here's what he had to say...
Before we kick-off. What a view we've got. How good does Wembley look today?
It's brilliant. I've never been to see a football match in my life but sitting here I'm thinking it must be some sort of feeling walking out there and playing.
I suppose the Crucible is our equivalent to Wembley. It's a special thing to walk out there but I can't imagine being a footballer walking out and playing for your country. It must be magnificent
What are your initial reactions to your draw?
Dave's a very tough player but there was a lot of tough draws to be honest with you. I've got to make sure my head's right for that game because he's like granite.
You famously made the final in 2008. Do you think you can got that step further this time?
I'm definitely hoping so. I feel like I learned a lot from that final. I played Ronnie O'Sullivan. He was on song and it was probably the hardest final I could have had really from that point of view. But it would be nice to meet him again in the final this year as well.
You've won two ranking events since then as well so you must be growing in confidence...
Yeah definitely. I've won a couple of big tournaments since then and I seem to be getting to the later stages of every other tournament as well. So it was definitely the kick-start for me.
It's so competitive out there though...
Yeah there's so many good players out there that can win it. John Higgins has been in great form. Neil Robertson, Ronnie, Mark Williams. There's so many candidates who can go and win it, so it's important I just concentrate on myself, my own game and see what happens.
Are you playing well enough this season to win it?
I've been very up and down to be honest. I started well winning the Shanghai Masters. I had a bit of a lean patch but I feel like I'm coming back and I'd like to put the cherry on the cake and win the world title. It's been a great season with the amount of opportunities to play. It's what we want. We're playing, getting the chance to earn more money and busy. We just want to play snooker.
It took you a few seasons to become accustomed to playing at the Crucible. Do you feel comfortable there now?
Yeah it's definitely tough at first and we'll find out how the new players find it this year. I've got used to it now but it's a unique atmosphere and a very special place to play, so I'm just glad I'm involved.