MAX CLEWORTH could well have been an important cog in the Wrexham midfield engine room instead of a formidable force at the back!

Cleworth enjoyed a terrific campaign as Phil Parkinson’s Reds made sure of back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club’s history with their runners-up spot in League Two.

However, the centre back, named as Wrexham’s young player of the season for 2023-24, started off by playing in midfield - and he cites a Liverpool Champions League-winning legend as his main inspiration growing up.

Cleworth told the Fearless in Devotion podcast: “Probably when I was growing up, it was (Steven) Gerrard.

“I was a big Liverpool fan and, obviously, I was a centre mid back in like kids’ football and then in the Academy.

“Just the worldies that he scored, the way he ran up and down.

“That was someone I idolised and my dad probably did as well, like in terms of football.

“So, he probably banged on about him as well.

“He was probably someone I modelled my game off when I was younger.”

Cleworth’s eyes moved back towards defensive giants as he got older, though.

He added: “Then, as I got older, it’s probably changed to like (Virgil) van Dijk, John Stones, (Sergio) Ramos.

“All them modern centre halves a bit more. Probably more towards them now.”

Wrexham clinched the National League title following a record-breaking 2022-23 campaign and went straight up again this season to secure back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club’s history.

Cleworth was a key member of the side during the second portion of the campaign and he also grabbed his first league goal for the first team.

With time running out away to Colchester United, Cleworth grabbed the winner in a vital 2-1 triumph.

While he thinks he could do a job in the midfield, Cleworth believes his future is in the position that he currently occupies.

“I think centre half’s obviously going to be my main position, whether that be back-three or back-four,” he added.

“I think I could maybe do a job at centre mid, but obviously the more you play centre half, I think the harder it becomes to play centre mid, because it’s obviously very different in terms of the way you receive the ball.

“The time you have on it, just all together, it’s a completely different position.

“So, I’d like to think I could do a job, but I mainly see myself as a centre half.”