Stephen McLaughlin now enjoying left back role at Mansfield Town as team mates vote him player of season

Stephen McLaughlin admitted he has grown into and now enjoys his new full-time role as a left back which has just seen him scoop four player of the year awards.

Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 2:57 pm

And as the Irish midfielder prepared to try to help Mansfield Town reach the League Two play-off final tonight, he admitted the players' player of the year was the one he cherished most as it meant his team mates were impressed by the job he had done in converting to a defender.

“That meant a lot to me,” he said.

“Any player will tell you that to get player's player of the year is a massive achievement with fellow players voting for you to say you've had a good season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mansfield Town left back Stephen McLaughlin celebrates a goal at Salford.

“I have been in England nearly 10 years now and I have never picked up this many awards.

“I have had a good season, probably one of my best in England. I am really happy with it.”

On becoming Stags' marauding left back, he said: “I did play there a wee bit last season. I played a number of positions.

“But this season I've been the main left back.

“It did take a little bit of getting used to with my positional sense and all. But the gaffer has been very good with it.

“He has sat down and talked about different things that I need to be doing and bringing into my game which has helped me massively.”

His interchanging with former Irish international Stephen Quinn down the left has been instrumental in Stags' fine season.

“I have a licence going forward and me and Quinny have set up a good partnership. It just happened,” he said.

“He is a very intelligent player so I am able to play off him, know where he is, and it's been enjoyable to play alongside him. We just clicked.

“He's been around a lot, internationally, and it's his movement. He gives me space and we play one-twos.

“We constantly feed each other information on what we can do to hurt the opposition and when we get it right we are unstoppable really. sometimes defenders don't know what to do.

“We rotate all the time and it's been very enjoyable.

“I feel like I have really kicked on in my game defensively and going forward as well.”

McLaughlin added: “The dressing room is the best I have been in.

“No one was panicking at the start of the season. We all knew once it clicked that we were going to do something special.

“To get to the play-offs from where we were was a good achievement. Once we settled down and got into a rhythm there was no stopping us.”

McLaughlin was struggling towards the end of Saturday's first leg but believes he will be okay to play at Northampton.

“I am fine,” he said. “I was a wee bit tight in my hamstring but I was never going to come off. It's just one of those, maybe down to the long season.

“I have played most of the games this season for probably the first time in a couple of years. But I am ready to go.”