Striker clocks up 100 ‘pro’ shows at just 22
Achievement ‘crept up’ on former U21 international
MATT McClure reckons his early grounding in non-league football was the key behind him joining the 100 Club at the age of 22.
The former Northern Ireland U21 international striker signed pro forms at Adams Park five years ago before having successful loan spells with Burnham, Wealdstone and Hayes & Yeading.
Although he has been used more as a super sub in recent weeks, McClure racked up his 100th game for Wycombe last week when he came off the bench against Bury, and knows he is still a huge part of manager Gareth Ainsworth’s plans.
He said: “Playing non-league football was a lot different from what I was used to. It is real men’s football, and it was a quick education for me. You soon learn how to look after yourself and pick up a few tricks of the trade.
“To play 100 games at my age is a proud achievement, but I must admit it crept up on me. I don’t really keep track of these things, so it was a bit of a surprise when I was told.
“I know how the gaffer feels about me and he knows how I feel about him. I owe him a lot.”
In fact, not only has Ainsworth has been a key figure in McClure’s development, but he has also been there at all the big moments in the striker’s career.
great escape against Torquay last year is up there with my favourite games, but the one at Rotherham two years ago stands out. The gaffer had just taken over, we hadn’t won for a while and were getting beaten again. They were first or number 101 as Wycombe beat Mansfield Town, thanks to a Paul Hayes penalty and Peter Murphy’s headed winner.
Hayes netted the only goal of the game at Plymouth on Tuesday night. Wanderers’ fifth win of the season resulted in them moving up to third in the table.
Ainsworth’s men are on the road again on Saturday, to play Portsmouth.
ON FIRE: Matt McClure on strike for Wycombe; (inset) getting his name on the scoresheet during his spell at Hayes & Yeading