Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 8 October 2017
SCUNTHORPE, England - Former Navy Blues and All Whites attacking midfielder Clayton Lewis has joined League One side Scunthorpe United after a long wait to make his professional dream come true.
Scunthorpe United coach and former Scotland international Graham Alexander was delighted to finally get Lewis in at the club.
"It's been a long time coming. Once we'd got him through the door, I looked at the first time I'd spoken to him on my phone and I think it was June, trying to get it sorted. It's dragged on a little bit and it's been frustrating for both parties. We're still waiting for international clearance for him to be eligible for the games. We're looking forward to having him on board.
"Since he's come over, he's joined in a little bit of training for half an hour before he had to go off and sort his passport out. We'll see how he is physically and get him up to speed on how we do things here. As we get through to weeks when we can have a full week of training - like next week - we can have a really good look at him and he can have a really good look at us and we look forward to seeing the qualities that he has.
"He knows he's come into a squad with good players, so he's going to have to fight for his chances. What he did yesterday was the warm-up and a few possession boxes, so nothing too strenuous. We haven't seen where he is at the moment, but it goes without saying, he will be behind. He's been training on his own and no matter how hard you push yourself, you won't be fit for 90 minutes straight away.
"We'll get him up to speed and like we do with all our players, we will look after him physically and when he's ready he will get his opportunity. We won't rush him for any silly reasons, but it's just good to get him in the building now and we look forward to working with him," Alexander told the Scunthorpe United club website.
Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx was delighted to see Lewis make his dream move and said he has the capacity to be a big success in a professional environment.
"Congratulations are due to Clayton from everyone at the club. I believe Clayton has everything to become a very good footballer and in my view he is already at a very good level to progress further.
"The English league is a very physical competition which he will need to adapt to quickly but there is a lot more to come from Clayton as a footballer and I wish him the best," he said.
Lewis, who won two OFC Champions League titles and two Charity Cups with the Navy Blues, was delighted to begin the new phase of his career but had kind words to say about his two seasons with the Oceania champions.
"With Auckland City FC it was more patient and a slower tempo. We had the ball a lot, but coming here I know it’s fast paced and going to learn a lot more here. Obviously, it’s a tougher league and I can’t wait.
"The coaching staff at Auckland City FC have been really good to me. Me progressing so far is credit to me wanting it as well and all the teammates pushed everyone to the limit. Being at a club like Auckland City FC was a massive experience and I wish them well for the new season," he said.
Meanwhile, former Navy Blues striker Joao Moreira has been linked with a possible move to Indian club football. The Portuguese striker scored 40 goals in 64 matches in all competitions over three seasons including a club record of 16 in the OFC Champions League, one more than the late Keryn Jordan and former club legend Manel Exposito.
Lewis made 47 appearances for the Navy Blues and scored 15 goals for the club during his time at Kiwitea Street.
Additional reporting courtesy www.scunthorpe-united.co.uk
Sun 30 Sep 2018, Auckland Grammar, 11.30am