The rise and rise of Mariner Michael McGlinchey

John Davidson Roar Guru

By John Davidson, John Davidson is a Roar Guru

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    Michael McGlinchey's quest to move to Wellington has raised issues about player compensation and club ownership. (Photo by Paul Barkley/LookPro)

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    One-time former Celtic midfielder Michael McGlinchey surely has to be now one of the best players in the A-League.

    At times 2012-2013 has seemed like his own coming out party, a period when of the best-kept secrets of the competition was emphatically announced to the footballing world.

    In a club with seemingly no stars, McGlinchey has arguably become the key name at the Central Coast Mariners.

    The Wellington-born, Glasgow-raised diminutive footballer has racked up 26 appearances for the club this season, scoring six goals and setting up seven others.

    His high-energy, lung-bursting play has been a consistent feature of Graham Arnold’s side. Dynamic, versatile and fast, McGlinchey has been the linchpin.

    Many pundits predicted the wheels might have fallen off the Mariners wagon when Tommy Rogic departed overseas. But the adaptable McGlinchey, often thrown in at 10, has made sure the attacking play of the team didn’t miss a beat.

    A product of Celtic’s academy, there is a lot to like about the 26-year-old.

    Quietly spoken and small in stature, it is his ability that has loomed large over the A-League.

    This is a guy who can play anywhere across the midfield, at home in the centre or out wide, is adept at scoring goals as well as creating them not to mention being able to beat his opponents with both skill and speed.

    Hell, he could even do a job at right back. His movement off the ball, let along his exquisite dribbling, is a joy to watch.

    For a player who couldn’t quite make it in the Scottish Premier League, but who was reportedly offered a contract with Manchester United as a 17-year-old, McGlinchey has come a long way.

    Joining the Mariners in 2009, the Kiwi international has gotten better every season since arriving at Bluetongue Stadium.

    The playmaker quietly goes about his business, drifting in and out at important moments often to deliver a killer blow.

    Tony Walmsley, a former first-team assistant and National Youth League coach at the Mariners now head of academy recruitment at Sheffield United in the UK, is an unabashed McGlinchey fan.

    “He can play anywhere,” Walmsley says.

    “It’s been remarkable his improvement since he joined the club. He’s still young and there’s lots of improvement in him.”

    Walmsley believes McGlinchey will be a key for the Mariners in Sunday’s grand final, and it’s hard to argue.

    If McGlinchey fires at Allianz Stadium, the Wanderers will be in trouble. There’s little doubt that Tony Popovic’s men will have done their homework on him.

    While his All White compatriot Marcos Rojas gets all the plaudits (McGlinchey polled fourth behind Rojas in the Johnny Warren Medal voting), the 26-year-old quietly goes about his business.

    If this stellar run of form continues it won’t be any surprise to see him soon move overseas at some stage, despite having two more years to run on his Mariners contract. If the Kiwis hadn’t snapped him up he would probably be a Socceroo by now.

    Michael Ryan McGlinchey, the slight midfield magician with the Glaswegian burr. Remember the name come April 21, he’s sure to have a big impact.

    Follow John Davidson on Twitter @johnnyddavidson

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • April 17th 2013 @ 7:57am
      Towser said | April 17th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Luv to see McGlinchey type players ,not enough of them around in the A-League for me,players who can create openings either for themselves or a teammate in tight areas.

    • Roar Guru

      April 17th 2013 @ 9:08am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | April 17th 2013 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      A delightful player to watch. Like Ono, Del Piero, Carlos, Rogic, Mooy … every time McGlinchey gets the ball I salivate at the prospect of “what will he do now”. Inevitably, it’s the perfect pass. The perfect chip. The perfect run into space. Just perfect decision-making.

      That’s what separates the top footballers from the grafters. The top footballers are not only technically proficient, they also exhibit exquisite decision-making.

      Slowly, the ALeague is starting to discover, attract & laud these types of players.

      • April 17th 2013 @ 1:13pm
        Punter said | April 17th 2013 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        Fuss, totally agree with those players you mentioned & you can throw in Liam Miller as well. There is also a young player that Midfilelder has kept us updated for awhile, Caceres, whos still young. I look forward to seeing more & more players like these. Hopefully SFC gets Carle back, another player in the same mould. Mitch Nicholls at Brisbane can do this too.
        Every club should seek similar type players Adelaide should try to get Nathan Burns back.

    • April 17th 2013 @ 9:28am
      The Bear said | April 17th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      I wonder why it took him this long to break through? Quite the season he’s had and deserves all the praise he’s been garnering.

      • April 19th 2013 @ 10:37am
        j binnie said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Bear – To understand why it has taken so long one has to look no further than the lads connections. He was brought up in Glasgow where in the minds of most football fans the “ideal” footballer resembled one Jimmy Johnstone or Wllie Henderson, two small,fast, incredibly talented ball manipulators (dribblers) who had graced Scottish football in the ’60s.It wasn’t so strange then that this type of player would have been the idol of young McGlinchey,& so it proved,he was signed by Celtic as a “jinky” winger,a position that football tactics of the time were slowly eliminating from the game. Then an odd example. In 1966, Jock Stein,the legendary Celtic manager, had brought back to Celtic Park another “jinky” left winger,Bertie Auld who was whiling his time away at Birmingham & converted him, with his skill & gained “experience”, into a crucial playmaker in his team of 1967,the Lisbon Lions.
        This in effect is exactly what has happened to McGlinchey,he has developed into a class act in midfield where his ball skills have been added to by a vision for the game that had been latent until “old man time” decided it was time to work his magic with the youngster’s brain and make him a more complete player. Michael’s father will know of what I speak. jb

    • April 17th 2013 @ 9:39am
      Football United said | April 17th 2013 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      He wouldn’t look out of place back in a celtic squad, especially with commons starting to lose it and Forrest constantly injured

    • April 17th 2013 @ 10:12am
      Franko said | April 17th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      A Lawrie ‘Mr Mayor’ McKinna signing?

    • April 17th 2013 @ 11:08am
      Mals said | April 17th 2013 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      I hope McGlinchey has a cracker of a game on Sunday! He will be the man to unlock the Wanderers excellent defense.

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