ON his only previous visit to the national stadium, the pitch at Wembley looked a long way off for Alex Gorrin, in every sense.

As a 20-year-old his spell at Sunderland was about to end without making a senior appearance for the club, who had reached the Capital One Cup final.

Travelling down with supporters, he watched Manchester City win 3-1 alongside his father, who had flown over from Tenerife.

“We were talking after the game about how unbelievable it would be to play there one day,” the U’s midfielder said.

“It went the wrong way that time but it was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.

“Really I was more aware of Wembley when I moved to Sunderland.

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“I was a kid, about 16, and for the next couple of years I lived with an English family, so I sucked the culture up of Wembley and the cup finals.

“When you’re sitting up there so high you never think you’ll be there.

“Well, you do because when you play that’s what you strive for, but it seems so far away.

“Now we’re going to be there on Monday for a massive game.”

While he was one of the least heralded signings last summer, Gorrin has steadily become a key cog in Karl Robinson’s yellow machine.

With seemingly boundless energy, the Spaniard adds steel to the side, shielding the back four to snuff out danger and launch the next United attack.

A haul of 14 bookings this season shows he is not afraid to make a tackle and given Wycombe’s robust approach, Gorrin will be a key man again at Wembley.

He said: “It’s definitely something I enjoy but it’s one of their strengths.

“They’re a good team and have been at the top of the league for most of the season.

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“They’re very physical and know what they’re doing. It will be a really tough challenge.”

The coronavirus lockdown has meant the road to Wembley has been longer than ever.

But even without the four-month interruption, United began the campaign as hopeful long shots after spending most of the previous season battling against relegation.

A slow burn for recruitment in the summer did little to help the mood, but Gorrin was always confident.

Having signed from Motherwell, he was relishing the chance to finally play in England after his career had taken in New Zealand, Portugal and Romania since leaving Sunderland.

He said: “I’m always very positive.

“I saw the squad and we had quality players with a great manager. I just believed in it.

“Now we’re in with a chance so hopefully things go our way and we can achieve our goal.”