Steve Claridge strikes again for Gosport Borough

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Monday Night Club Extra

BBC pundit Steve Claridge scored his second goal in two games for Gosport Borough as they beat Mangotsfield United 2-1 in the Southern League.

Claridge equalised midway through the first half before Adam Wilde hit Gosport's winner from the penalty spot.

The veteran striker admitted he is still getting back up to speed after coming out of retirement at 45.

"The more games I play, the better I'll get. At my age it takes time to get the sharpness in your legs," he said.

Claridge, who played over 1,000 professional matches in a career spanning more than two decades, maintained his fitness during his five years out of the game.

He jogs between five and six miles on the shores of the Solent during the week and about a mile and a half on matchdays.

"It's something that I learned quite early on, you have to put the work in," he said.

"I think the preparation that you do through the week stands you in good stead. What you do puts you in a positive frame of mind.

"People don't understand how important that is - it's not just a physical game, it's a mental game too.

"If you do the preparation and put in the work, then you know 90 minutes of football shouldn't be any problem at all."

Gosport manager Alex Pike is delighted with Claridge's impact and said he is an inspiration to the younger members of his squad.

"Steve is professional in everything he does." he said. "It's inspired everyone. He's shown what you can do it you look after your body. I've got young 19-year-olds who wouldn't put in the shift of 90 minutes that he does.

"It's let everyone have an insight into that professional world. We're just lucky to have him."

And club chairman Mark Hook is delighted with his new signing.

"The town has been buzzing," he said.

"Some people were sceptical at first, thinking it was a bit of a gimmick, but if you're good enough, it doesn't matter what age you are."

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