FC Halifax Town: "I want to push as high as I can because I believe I can," says Shaymen youngster McLintock

Sam McLintock has team-mate Matty Stenson to thank for helping him move to FC Halifax Town.
Sam McLintock. Photo: Alvechurch FCSam McLintock. Photo: Alvechurch FC
Sam McLintock. Photo: Alvechurch FC

Stenson was impressed by 21-year-old McLintock in action for Alvechurch when he played against him while on loan at Tamworth in the Southern League Premier Central.

After recommending him to Halifax boss Pete Wild, The Shaymen were impressed enough when watching him for themselves to sign the midfielder on an initial 18 month deal.

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"Matty's from Coventry, where I am. We'd never spoke before but he was on loan recovering from his knee injury, playing for Tamworth, and we played against them," McLintock said.

"Matty played, and I had a good game, and he just recommended me to Pete, who sent someone to watch me, and they watched me in the next game, I had another good game, and he asked me up for a week.

"It didn't sound like it was going to be a trial, it sounded more convincing, it was more to see how I was with the lads and training.

"I was still meant to be in at Cheltenham but I told I had a good opportunity, a more realistic chance of playing sooner probably, so I went up for a week, in the week leading up to Christmas.

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"We played a training game on the Friday, and then I spoke to Pete after. He said I did well and told me he was going to offer me something."

McLintock started playing football in Ireland, having moved there when he was four.

"I came back to England when I was 12 and played Saturday and Sunday League with my mates until I was 16, then I went to a football college and did a course there until I was 19," he said.

"I had a trial at Doncaster Rovers and thought I was going to get a deal there but I tore a muscle in my knee.

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"They asked me back, I went back in February 2020 and I tore it again the first game back. It was horrible, the same injury on the same leg.

"When I came back I joined Coleshill Town because I knew the manager there.

"Then after eight or nine games for them, Alvechurch were watching and they said 'come and play for us'.

"The first season at Alvechurch got voided because of Covid so I've only really had a season of proper men's football.

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"Things started to happen in the last couple of months. I had a couple of trials last summer, before coming to Halifax I was training with Cheltenham for a month, they'd watched me at Alvechurch."

McLintock joined Alvechurch in October 2020 and had been scouted by other clubs before Halifax swooped for him.

"There were times I was quite disillusioned with football because I thought I was doing so well and not getting anywhere," he said.

"But in my head this season I just kept saying to myself it was just a matter of time really.

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"I wasn't trying to rush a move, I was playing well and I thought I haven't really had a proper chance because I've been injured, so I felt good this season.

"There was loads of noise, every week my manager was telling me there was a new team watching me, but I didn't really listen to it because that kind of stuff can get in your head.

"So I just played and enjoyed it."

McLintock says a plan is in place to aid his development with a view to working towards the Halifax first-team.

"I've got a couple of weeks left of my loan at Alvechurch and then I think maybe the plan is to go on loan to the league below, the Conference North, and get games, and then hopefully get into the squad at Halifax," he said.

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"That's the goal. I'm always ambitious, I want to push as high as I can because I believe I can."

McLintock has been training with Halifax full-time over the last couple of weeks due to Alvechurch not having any midweek matches.

"If we had midweek games I'd come back on a Tuesday and play for them that night," he said.

"I had a full week last week and this is my second full week this week.

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"It's been good. It's more about settling in and getting used to things, because it's a different lifestyle for me, but I'm enjoying it."

McLintock admits it didn't sink in for a couple of weeks after signing for Town that he had become a professional footballer.

"I was happy about it but I didn't know how to feel, but it's been good," he said.

"The first thing I noticed was how welcoming everyone was compared to other places I've been to.

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"They made me feel welcome, and it helps, in training you feel more comfortable.

"It obviously takes time, working your way into the team, but the lads and the staff have been really nice to me, so that helped a lot."

When asked what he feels he can bring to the Halifax side when he does play for the first-team, he said: "I can run a lot and I like to create things.

"I think I've got good passing and I can shoot with both feet, I feel like I can score and make goals.

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"I just always want to be involved on the ball, involved in the game.

"I'd say box-to-box would be my strongest position.

"They play three in the middle at Halifax and I like playing in any of those positions.

"This year's helped me a lot playing at a decent level for Alvechurch because one of our philosophies is pressing off the ball as quick as you can, so I think I've got better at that."

McLintock was at The Shay to watch Town's 1-0 defeat to Boreham Wood last month.

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"Just walking out on the pitch the other night, I really wanted to play," he said.

And Town's track record over recent years of developing young players was a big factor in McLintock joining the club.

"That's one thing Pete said, that he loves bringing in young players, producing young players and pushing them on," he said.

"That's exactly what I want to do, I want to go as far as I can in football, and this seems like a good place to start, get my name about and play well under a good manager."