Hero Maw­son ‘was close to quit­ting’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PLAY-OFF FINAL PREVIEW -

AL­FIE Maw­son has re­vealed he came close to quit­ting foot­ball last year be­fore steer­ing Wy­combe Wan­der­ers to Wem­b­ley this sea­son, writes Matt Lewis.

The 21-year-old Brent­ford de­fender (pic­tured) has been a rev­e­la­tion dur­ing his loan spell at Adams Park and picked up Wy­combe’s Sup­port­ers’ ’ and Play­ers’ Player of f the Year awards ear­lier r this month.

He played a key role in the Chair­boys book­ing their place in the League Two play-off fi­nal last Thurs­day night by scor­ing the sec­ond goal in a 2-1 win over Ply­mouth in Buck­ing­hamshire.

That was the cen­tre­back’s sev­enth strike of the sea­son and helped send Gareth Ainsworth’s side through to Satur­day’s show­down with Southend un­der the fa­mous arch.

It will be the young­ster’s first run out at the na­tional sta­dium and a fit­ting way to end a re­mark­able sea­son for a player who was on the verge of pack­ing it all in last March.

Maw­son dam­aged his knee car­ti­lage in a Bees devel­op­ment squad match and was not sure he would be of­fered fresh terms by the Cham­pi­onship out­fit.

Fear­ing his ca­reer could be over, the tough tack­ler signed up with a num­ber of re­cruit­ment agen­cies as he pon­dered a life away from foot­ball be­fore be­ing talked out of hang­ing up his boots.

He said: “At the end of last sea­son I tore my menis­cus.

“I was do­ing well on loan at Welling at the time and was quite happy with my per­for­mances but I got the in­jury in a devel­op­ment game and it killed me.

“I didn’t know what to do and then I got called in while I was do­ing my re­hab and was told they were of­fer­ing me a new deal.

“It means a lot, es­pe­cially when you’re in­jured. That would’ve been the worst thing, not be­ing of­fered a new deal when you’re in­jured. Foot­ball’s a short ca­reer and I don’t want to be a player who is hang­ing on. You’ve got to be re­al­is­tic in foot­ball.

“My fam­ily and my best mate re­ally helped me through that time.

“I signed up to a few job web­sites. I still get emails throughth from them on my phonep some­times and it makesm me think about it.

“I could’ve gone down th that route and thank­fully I didn’t. It shows that you’ve got to get what you can w while you can.

“What­ever hap­pens next se sea­son hap­pens, but I’m ju just go­ing to work hard a and make the most of it.

“My fam­ily pushed me th through, I got my­self fit a and now I’m go­ing to W Wem­b­ley.

“I’d never have dreamt o of this last sea­son. We’re all ab­so­lutely over the moon and we’re go­ing to attack it like ev­ery other game. I think we can do it.”

As well as sweep­ing the board at Wy­combe’s endof-sea­son awards, Maw­son was nom­i­nated for Sky Bet League 2 Player of the Year at The Foot­ball League Awards 2015.

The loan star was beaten to the gong by Bury’s Danny Maynor but was over­whelmed just to be in the run­ning for the prize.

“They told me I’d been nom­i­nated and I was choked up, I didn’t know what to say. I was ob­vi­ously gut­ted not to win but it was amaz­ing to be nom­i­nated.

“The gaffer gave me a chance and I can’t talk highly enough of him.

“I knew where Wy­combe were last year, strug­gling to stay up, and I came here ex­pect­ing a chal­lenge. The club wanted to put that to bed and I think we’ve done that,” he added.

WY­COMBE WAN­DER­ERS Fi­nal league po­si­tion: Play-off his­tory:

Route to the fi­nal: Form in the run up to the play-offs:

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