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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Delighted to get it over the line

5 August 2016

Keeper Max Crocombe on his new deal at the club

We caught up with keeper Max Crocombe to talk about his one-year deal with United - secured off the back of a very successful trial period.

“It’s good to get it done and it’s been a good week for me,” he said. “It’s never nice going on trial but this one was short and sweet and I’m delighted to get it over the line.

“I feel like I’m at an age where I’m ready to prove myself. I’ve felt good for a long time and I think I just need an opportunity now. It’s fantastic that the gaffer and Simon are giving me a chance to get that.

“As I said, trials can be a little bit long winded so it’s good that it’s all sorted. It’s a great club and stadium here and I’ve been up here when it’s been a lively atmosphere. I’m looking forward to some good times here.”

Both the manager and keeper coach Simon Tracey have spoken highly of the New Zealand international since he joined the club on trial last Saturday, and he admitted that was a factor in helping him to settle so quickly.

“It’s always nice to hear when people speak well of you,” he commented. “Trace has been excellent with me, as has Mark [Gillespie], and I’ve really enjoyed it. Working with Mark has been good. He’s a professional and he’s been good in training. 

“I like the look of him but I even thought that whenever I’ve seen him play against us. I remember he made a great save against Oxford at our place so it’s good to be in here with him. He’s been very welcoming and I think it’ll be a strong relationship. 

“Let’s make no bones about it, I’m not here to sit around. I don’t think Mark is either and that can only help the club. We’ll both be pushing each other and whoever the gaffer sees as the fittest to wear the shirt will get it.”

On bringing an end to his long stay with Oxford, he said: “I don’t think there’s any secret that I haven’t had the best of times in the last few years down there. It’s really sad to leave because I feel like I do have unfinished business with them. 

“I didn’t really achieve anywhere near as much as I wanted to, but that’s football and I’m pleased that I’m now able to move on. I think it’s the right time to move and this is a great club to do that with. 

“The good thing from the last few years is that I’ve been able to get out on loan. I went to Nuneaton, when I was struggling for game time, and I got two more moves off the back of that to Barnet and Southport. Even though I wasn’t really getting a look-in at Oxford I’ve still been able to get some valuable experience and game time elsewhere.”

Speaking about what we can expect to see from him, he said: “I’m loud, I command my area and I like to sweep. I’d say my game has come on a lot in terms of decision making, because I’ve always played quite high off my line. Playing first team games has taught me when and where to do that and I like to think I make good saves at important times. 

“The main aim going forward for me has always got to be to keep improving my performances. I know I’ve progressed over the last 18 months and I just want that to continue. 

“The manager has spoken to me and I think the main thing he wants is added competition for the starting spot. The goalkeeper position can be a difficult one because if someone ahead of you is doing well, there’s no real reason to change it. As long as I’m taking care of myself that’s all I can concentrate on. I’ll keep pushing myself and we’ll see where that takes me.”

As well as domestic football the big stopper has also secured a regular call-up with his national side at all levels up to and including the full international squad.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” he admitted. “I know I don’t sound like it, having lost the accent, but I’m a very proud New Zealander and it’s a really nice route to back home. 

“I’m always really proud when I’m selected and it’s happened a lot of times now. As long as that continues I’ll be happy with that side of my career. 

“We have the Confederation Cup to look forward to next summer and we also have the World Cup qualifiers. There will be some very difficult games but it’s a very nice bonus to have that running alongside a club career. It’s a privilege to be involved with it and it opens your eyes to different parts of the world as well. Hopefully I’ll stay as part of their plans.”

But first and foremost it’s the small matter of the start of the new season and the trip to face Portsmouth this coming weekend.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than Portsmouth in this division,” he said. “It’ll be a great game and I’m confident from what I’ve seen that we’ll be able to put on a good show.”

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