Chris McCready interview - Morecambe, League Two and Crewe's youth system
Experienced Morecambe defender Chris McCready has started the new season with a mixed bag of results with the League Two side.
But his footballing background - he came through the famous Crewe youth system - has taught him a thing or two about football, and life.
The 30-year-old is in his third season with The Shrimps, a season that started with a win, a draw and a defeat.
McCready is a key player for Jim Bentley's side. He has had a steady career in the Football League and, in addition to his time at Crewe, he has also had spells at Tranmere and Northampton.
The defender is thinking ahead. He combines his playing career with football science studies and is interested in a future role focusing on the psychology of football.
McCready spoke to Total Football's deputy editor Iván Molina about the new season, his career and his future plans.
What are your personal aims for the new season?
I'm looking to enjoy my football, work hard to improve, and to try to get some good, solid, consistent performances.
What can be expected from Morecambe this season?
We are all hoping we can have a successful season, but to do that we need to perform well in a lot of games. All the teams in the league will be hoping for success but it's the ones who keep churning out good performances that will have success.
What are your thoughts about the standard of the sides in League Two?
For me, the standard has improved massively throughout the lower leagues over the course of my career. Undoubtedly this is due to the influx of foreign players at the top level and, as a result, most of the homegrown talent is forced further down the leagues. Either you view this as a positive, in that the standards throughout the leagues have improved, or a negative, where not enough British players are playing at the top level.
You were part of the famous Crewe Alexandra youth system, what impact did that have on you as a player?
It has had a huge influence on my career. The standard of coaching and things demanded of players are light years ahead of their time. They've had a long term plan for developing players and have stuck to it through thick and thin, no doubt playing a massive part in their success. It was a great football grounding for me and countless others.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
I think that's a question for retirement. Little things like the amount of effort I put in for the many years before I even made my debut. I'd love a promotion in these next few years!
Do you think that football has given you what you deserved?
Good question! Some days I think I've been nowhere near the level of reward I think my effort has deserved. Other days I'm very proud of everything I've done and how I've done it and the rewards don't get a second thought. I'm a lucky man with a wonderful family, beautiful wife, gorgeous daughters and I'm a professional footballer which is what I've worked hard to do.
What's next for you after Morecambe? Your brother is currently playing in the USA, have you considered the possibility of playing there?
My brother is at Limestone college in South Carolina and has played for Carolina Dynamos this summer. They came second in the nationals. We are very proud of him and he is really happy which is fantastic. I used to dream of playing abroad when I was younger, but I don't think that'll happen now and I'm not sure I'd want it to. We are very happy where we are.
What will you do when you hang up your boots?
I think a second career in sports science could be an option. I'm particularly interested in the psychology of football, performances and how players cope. I've realised that there is very little physical or technical skills between a lot of players, and these skills will be trained every day, but for me the most critical element of performance is psychology. It ties everything together. In football, players are left to their own devices, almost a 'survival of the fittest' scenario with regard to psych skills and well-being. Perhaps I've found my calling, but I'm not ready for my second career just yet!
By Iván Molina - Follow me on Twitter @IvanMolinaC
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