MAX CLEWORTH is grateful for the faith shown in him by Phil Parkinson but the centre-back won't take his place in the side for granted next season because he knows the competition will be fierce once again.

The 21-year-old was a permanent fixture in Wrexham's defence in the second half of 2023-24 and produced a series of impressive performances, helping the Reds secure runners-up spot in League Two to make it back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club's history.

Recognised for his efforts by being voted Young Player of the Season for a second time on the back of his 2021-22 award, Cleworth - a product of the club's youth development programme - has signed a new three-year contract keeping him at The Racecourse until 2027.

Cleworth, who has made nearly 100 appearances in all competitions for Wrexham and was handed his league debut by Parkinson on the opening day of the 2021-22 campaign, is delighted to extend his stay with the Reds and thanked his manager for continuing to select him last season ahead of more experienced defenders such as Ben Tozer, Aaron Hayden and Jordan Tunnicliffe. 

"I am very pleased to get it done," said Cleworth. "Having come from the academy, it is nice to get rewarded with a new contract.

"Obviously last season was a good season, especially the second half personally.

"I managed to get a bit of a run in the team; the competition spoke for itself - there were loads of players who could have come in and done just as good a job - but I was grateful to the gaffer for all his trust in me and we managed to get over the line so it was a good end to the season."

Cleworth started the last 17 games of the season with Eoghan O'Connell and Tom O'Connell forming the back-three during the run-in, and he feels consistency was key to keeping his place.

"I know the way that the gaffer likes to play and I understand what he likes from his defenders," said Cleworth.

"I feel I have managed to find a level of consistency which is important, especially for defenders.

"It helps having people like Eoghan and Tom alongside you, and behind the scenes towards the end of last season, Ben Tozer was a big help to me and Aaron and Jordan.

"Everyone played their part and it is a season we will look back on with fond memories."

Although Tozer, Hayden and Tunnicliffe have left the club, Parkinson has already brought in one centre-back - Lewis Brunt from Leicester City for an undisclosed fee - and more are expected.

Despite his superb form last term, Cleworth won't rest on his laurels.

"I will give it my all to try and stay in the team, as I am sure the other lads will," he added.

"Last season proved what a squad game it is and I don't think it will be any different this year.

"It is important to have competition in every position, Brunty has come in and I know he is a top player after playing against him last season.

"The gaffer has added to the squad to give us that competition and we will look to kick-on again this season."