The Older Head

IT has been a while since Luke McCormick last put his body through the rigours of pre-season training but, with aging limbs, comes a maturing mind.

“I’ve had to adapt my game,” admits the 29-year-old goalkeeper, who is beginning his second spell at Home Park.

“I certainly have to look after my body a bit more – it hasn’t been used to the vigorous trainings sessions day in day out, that’s for sure – but, like anything as you get older, you learn to use your head a little bit more.

“Obviously, I am one of the older lads in the squad now, so it’s also a case of trying to help others around me along, who are a little bit younger.

“Pre-season is always a long, hard slog but I feel good in body and mind.”

Although training has been tough, pre-season matches have been less taxing for Luke and fellow custodian Jake Cole.

“It’s been quiet, but I think it’s been a good exercise for me and Jake,” he said. “There’s still a lot of concentration work that needs to be done in those games, and it’s nice, particularly for myself, to be eased in a touch. I think we’re all looking forward to testing ourselves more now.”

All of which will go towards deciding how the Pilgrims will line up at Southend on August 3.

“Any player in the squad wants to be in that starting 11 on the first day of the season,” said Luke. “I’m no different.

“We’ve still got a little way to go but I think it’s important for each and every one of us to put ourselves in the picture, whether it’s every training session, weights session, we have got to showcase ourselves, if you like, to make sure we get that nod.

“We’ll see. It’s going to be a long old season, and not only do I want to be in the team for that first game, I’ve got a year to convince the manager there’s another contract opportunity at the end of the season. There’s a bigger picture to it.”

Being in the Argyle squad for the trip to Essex next month is a world away from a year ago, when playing football for a living had looked a world away.

“For a period of time, I’d resigned myself that it wouldn’t happen,” he said “and I completely understood and accepted that.”

Then he linked up with former Argyle team-mate Lee Hodges at Blue Square South side Truro City before moving to League 2 Oxford United during the season.

He said: “Even when I started playing for Truro, there was a time when I didn’t think I‘d play in the Football League again and, again, I’d accepted that. I wouldn’t say I’d ever stopped believing, but that was the way I felt at the time, I suppose.

“It was certainly a lifeline when Oxford came calling, and I was so grateful to them for taking that chance and for giving me the opportunity to prove myself at this level.”