Max Clayton blogs about his first World Cup goal and the latest from the camp.
By Max Clayton
Since my blog last week a lot has happend as three games, two wins and a draw have seen us top our group and progress to the next round of the World Cup.
As I'm writing this blog we are currently in a place called Torreon, which is a flight away from Mexico City and in the north of the country. The hotel we're in is called the Crowne Plaza which I feel is the nicest one yet in terms of food and rooms. The praise must go to our administrator Claire Duggan, who is a legend.
I will just do a little recap for you of what's been happening in the past week.
For obvious reasons, the first game was massively important as we needed to get off to a good start against Rwanda
. Hallam and Raheem were both on target for us, which eventually led us to victory in an exciting opening 90 minutes.
From a personal note, I didn't start the game but came on for the last 15 minutes. This was brilliant for me because I got myself a taste of World Cup football. The lads did a great job in seeing off the Rwandans, as it was a tough task but one we were perfectly capable of doing.
We stayed in Pachuca for a further three days to help prepare for our next group game against Canada, which was also a real test for us as we drew 2-2 thanks to a last minute equaliser by Canada's goalkeeper
, which was just a freak goal out of nothing. I also played 35 minutes in this game, which I was delighted with again. The atmosphere was electric and it was a fantastic experience playing in front of a crowd over 12,000.
We played our final Group game against Uruguay which was a brilliant experience for all the lads. It was a fantastic win in 35 degrees plus heat, but we handled it well and managed to win 2-0
, with a goal from myself and one from Nathaniel Chalobah.
To score in a World Cup is the best experience of my life in my short professional career. It was an unbelievable feeling and it felt like I was in slow motion when the ball fell at my feet. I couldn't hear the crowd until a few seconds after the ball had hit the back of the net and I ran off to celebrate with Hallam (Hope) who set me up.
For obvious reasons all the team that started and finished the game were very fatigued towards the end of the game. It was a massive relief for all the team when the final whistle was blown.
As the trip has progressed, a lot of the lads have had a good joke with both Daves (Macca and Weeksy) as they are a good laugh to be around on the trip and they work hard to maintain that we are at 100 per cent when we play.
Whether it means Weeksy giving the lads an impression of clips from 'Home Alone' or Macca defending his warm-up and cool down techniques, it has all been fantastic entertainment. I also have good banter with my room-mate Jacko (Adam Jackson) and fellow Crewe team-mate Garrat (Ben Garratt).
This is usually about Jacko's northern accent which me and Ben have been trying to perfect all trip. The most recent banter we have been having as a team is taking the mick out of Media Officer James Marshall's Manchester accent, which I can say is the strongest Manc accent I've heard since Bez from the Stone Roses.
Whilst we have only been in Torreon a short while, everyone can feel the change in weather compared to Pachuca. This couldn't have been shown more than by Jordan Pickford’s face after training...red raw.
However, everyone is comfortably used to the altitude and conditions now, which is brilliant for us because we can then perform to a high standard which we have done for the first three group games.
I can’t wait for the last 16 now. We fly back to Pachuca too, where we stayed for our first two group games, so that is an added bonus.
Until next time.