Seanan Clucas no longer ‘treading water’ and now key cog in Glentoran midfield
Seanan Clucas’ transformation from ‘treading water’ to serving as a solid foundation within Glentoran’s midfield engine room has been a reward for self-reflection from the 29-year-old.
Drawing on experience gained from time in England, with Derry City across the League of Ireland, Glentoran’s main rivals Linfield and his hometown club Dungannon Swifts, Clucas’ growing consistency has been of benefit to both player and club.
With starts in five of Glentoran’s past six Premiership fixtures - and clocking up full appearances in four within that run - Clucas has been on the pitch for every league win celebrated by the Oval outfit bar the opening day’s date with his former club Dungannon.
Glentoran boss Mick McDermott has singled out the contribution of Clucas across recent weeks, with special praise for the gains thanks to his addition alongside Joe Crowe within the midfield unit.
“I think I’ve matured in my game and realise now it’s not about trying to do something spectacular to stand out or to be over-aggressive as the guy bringing that side to the team,” said Clucas ahead of this weekend’s visit by Portadown. “At times a player like myself that goes under the radar can feel the need to over-impress to stand out but I’ve got to trust the manager picks me for what I can bring to the side.
“In the past I’ve also been guilty of thinking my game has to be about aggression and tackles but think back to red cards for Glentoran in Europe or the derby with Linfield...stupid challenges I didn’t need to make.
“I’m probably more mature in my game now and understand picking up a booking inside the first 20 or 30 minutes isn’t doing the team any favours and only leaves me treading water for the rest of the match at the risk of a red.
“Now I can point to, I think, a single booking in my last 10 or 11 appearances and that control has been a big help.
“That focus away from just pure aggression has helped me show I can bring something more to the team and using that energy to make the right runs that help create space or push forward.
“I’m never going to be that flashy player who pops up with double-figure returns of goals and assists each season.
“But I also think what I bring to the team can go under the radar for some as it’s nothing pretty but offers a base off work-rate, drive and will-to-win.
“Joe Crowe is another player similar who will never get too many plaudits but offers such consistency and reliability when called on in any position.
“I think we both know what we can deliver but that dirty work helps give the more creative players room to deliver, so it’s about helping the team as a group.”
A change of jobs previously left Clucas restricted in his training time, resulting in a reduction of minutes. However, now he is enjoying the rewards on the pitch for that settled routine off it.
“It was difficult at the start of the season as I’m one of the club’s part-time players and had changed jobs, so there was a period which made it difficult for me to commit completely to our training schedule in place,” said Clucas. “But I can only thank Mick for the trust he placed in me and understanding over my work commitments.
“Now that’s all been sorted and I’m in the side it’s up to me to hold on to the shirt with my performances.
“I look after myself away from the pitch and put 110 per cent commitment into everything around the club as a team-mate.
“But I still really appreciate the backing from Mick and everyone during that transition period.
“Now I’m getting a bounce of games and feeling fit and happy with the form I’m starting to show.”
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