Week to remember as Lucas Akins makes international debut at 35 and signs new Mansfield Town deal

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It has been a week to remember for Mansfield Town striker Lucas Akins as he finally made his international debut at the age of 35 as well as signing a new one year contract with the promoted Stags.

Akins, Stephen McLaughlin and Rhys Oates all agreed new one-year deals while midfielder George Paris signed up for two more years.

Akins also completed 90 minutes for Grenada on Sunday night in a 3-0 World Cup qualifier defeat against Costa Rica – his second appearance for his country after making his debut three days earlier in the 2-2 draw with Trinidad and Tobago.

“It’s been a brilliant experience,” he said.

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New Grenada international Lucas Akins - new contract with Stags.New Grenada international Lucas Akins - new contract with Stags.
New Grenada international Lucas Akins - new contract with Stags.

“I went out last summer to Miami with Grenada, which was my first international camp and loved the whole environment and experience.

“There was an administrational error on the day I was due to play so unfortunately couldn’t make my debut.

“So in that sense it’s been a bit of a wait to fully represent Grenada.

“When I was asked to come again this summer it was something I really wanted to do.

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“It’s a short career as a footballer and international football doesn’t come around often.

“We surprised everyone against Trinidad, who are a bigger nation, and were two-nil up.

“It was a bit more difficult against Costa Rica, a nation who has been to a World Cup a few times. They had the likes of Joel Campbell coming off the bench, who’s played in the Premier League with Arsenal.

“The boys gave it their best and worked hard throughout. Although we weren’t on the end of a right result, we can take heart from our performance and work ethic.

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“Overall, it’s been an excellent experience, with a really good group of players.”

Even at 35 he said playing at international level would see him continue to learn.

“Although as a player I’ve amassed almost 700 games in England, I’m inexperienced internationally,” he said.

“I’ve learned plenty out here which will only aid me further professionally and in my life.

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“I’ve really enjoyed it. It was an honour to see some of my history and heritage.

“A lot of spices we enjoy from England stem from here. The climate is of course different too and playing in 35 degrees was an eye opener.

“Coming to the island where my mum was born, where my dad was brought up, is a real privilege.

“I felt immense pride to pull on the Grenada shirt. Extended family have been in touch and came to support me in the stadium.

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“To see them support me on home soil was a huge honour and I took a lot out of that. It was a great moment for me personally and for my family.

“They’ve been very supportive. It’s made my mum, aunties and uncles emotional and you understand what it means to them.”

He added: “What I would say is, If certain players have the opportunity to play internationally I think they certainly have to go for it, if the circumstances are right for them.

“The first time I got the opportunity was about 10 years ago, but circumstances weren’t right as I wanted to spend the summer with my first child. But nothing happens before its time.

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“Overall I’m pleased with my contribution over the two games. It would have been amazing to get a win but there’s always things to work towards.”

On extending his contract with Mansfield he said: “I’m absolutely delighted to extend my contract and have the opportunity to represent a fantastic club in a higher league and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“We have a great core squad and the players we’ve signed excite me as well.

“I’m hopeful that we can keep building and moving in the right direction. It’s clear the owners are backing us again.

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“The season ticket sales give everyone a huge boost and the support since I’ve been here has been striking.

“I had the pleasure of going to the Academy Awards Night recently, where over 400 parents and players were in attendance in the new marquee.

“It’s a fantastic set up which the fans will enjoy next season.

“With the new stand being built as well, everything is heading in the right direction.

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“Hopefully we can continue the great progress the management have made.

“I’m not placing any expectations on next season but we’ll just stick together and see where it takes us.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​