McCormack plays down his influence despite starring role

Alan McCormack in action for the Hatters
Alan McCormack in action for the Hatters

Modest Hatters midfielder Alan McCormack has played down his influence since coming back into the team after a lengthy spell out with injury this season.

The 34-year-old returned to the starting line-up from six months out with groin and calf problems last month, helping Town to defeat Barnet 2-0 at Kenilworth Road.

I haven’t come in with an agenda to play differently, do differently, just do my thing and that’s speak how I speak.

Alan McCormack

Since then, he has played a major role in Luton picking up five wins and a draw, providing a steel and leadership that Luton had missed in his absence.

Team-mates Alan Sheehan and Olly Lee were quick to mention the Irishman’s role in the side recently, although McCormack said: “People talk about this influence thing and Sheez made a comment the other day and they’re just accolades and compliments that people give you.

“Me personally, I just go out and try to do what I can do on the football pitch.

“I haven’t come in with an agenda to play differently, do differently, just do my thing and that’s speak how I speak.

“I’ve enjoyed it, I really have enjoyed it.

“The older you get, I’ve noticed probably the wiser you get too. The gaffer’s on at me all the time not to be charging about the pitch and there’s times when I’ve got to really hold myself back, because I want to go, I want to charge by four or five players.

“But you do realise you might not get anywhere with it and then you’re just tired for five, 10 minutes before you recover and get your second wind, so I’ve managed to knock that out of me.”

Striker Danny Hylton was also eager to play up McCormack’s significant impact, along with another member of the side, as he said: “Pelly’s (Mpanzu) come into the team and he’s took his chance and been amazing for us.

“Pelly and Macca, they’ve probably been a big thing for us as Macca’s come in and he’s been amazing since he’s come back from injury and come back into the team.

“He’s probably been exactly what we’ve needed to get over the line, that little bit of experience, that steady, calm head, when we looked to be stumbling at times and he’s been great.”

Having spent so much times on the sidelines this term, with the Hatters battling for promotion, McCormack was determined to play his part to the full when he got back.

He continued: “The hardest thing was sitting there watching the team not win a game, that was by far the hardest thing in the world to sit there.

“Although it was probably actually harder to sit there and watch them win as you’re not part of it.

“It has been difficult at times, but I’ve not got too disheartened by it as I knew it was only really short term and then it happened again, another setback.

“I remember speaking to Sheez in January when I did my left one (calf) and he was talking about devastation, but I was like, you know what, just restart button, literally restart button.

“As I knew these group of players around me would drive me, would push me, would make me feel fine and be a part of it.

“That’s the biggest thing that when you come back in, you know you’ve got a duty to them for everything they’ve done for you, you’ve got to do back to them and thankfully it’s paid off.”

McCormack has played all but 15 minutes of the six games he has started as he puts that down to an improved regime away from the game.

He added: “I manage my body a lot better, manage everything around me, my time away from the training ground, what I do with it.

“Thankfully since mid-February, when I got back full training it’s been fine.”