Wycombe Wanderers' Matt Ingram: The keeper never dropped

By Chris OsborneBBC Sport
Matt Ingram
Ingram kept three clean sheets in September

Matt Ingram may have racked up 77 consecutive games since his debut 19 months ago, but he is not about to give up living with his parents - or his modest set of wheels.

"I've got a Renault Clio. To be fair it's got all the mod cons, like a sat nav," he says, gesturing towards the training ground car park, which is resplendent with predominantly fancier motors.

"But it's only a little 1.2 litre so it doesn't go very fast."

The Wycombe Wanderers goalkeeper has already amassed a career many professionals would be proud of since his first senior appearance in March 2013.

Info on Ingram
Born: Hazlemere near High WycombeWycombe debut: 29 March, 2013 v Accrington (L 1-0)
Never been dropped or missed a competitive game, making 77 appearancesRecorded 20 clean sheets in a 19-month career

Twenty clean sheets, two relegation battles - including survival on the final day last season - and now the Football League's Young Player of the Month Award winner for September.

Last month Wycombe were undefeated in their five league games and conceded just three goals - Ingram has been intrinsic to their unlikely rise to the top of League Two.

But life retains normality, despite mixing it with players such as ex-Norwich City defender Gary Doherty and former Scunthorpe striker Paul Hayes, who have played hundreds of games - and have much bigger cars.

"It's been exciting, I can tell you that. But it's not changed me. It starts off being nerve-wracking, but you have to get over that," he told BBC Sport.

"I go into each game chilled out, knowing I've done it before."

High Wycombe-born Ingram, 20, was a talented swimmer growing up, using those big goalkeeping hands to swim at district level until the age of 14, when football became the priority.

Gareth Ainsworth and Matt Ingram
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth handed Ingram his debut in March 2013

He is one of the last remnants of the Wycombe youth system, which produced Liverpool's Jordon Ibe and QPR's Matt Phillips before being shut down for financial reasons two years ago.

And, since making his debut in a 1-0 loss to Accrington, he has clung on to the number one shirt at Adams Park with an iron grip. Seventy-seven games later, it is still in his possession.

"Playing all of those games is not just great for Matty, it would be great for anyone," said his boss Gareth Ainsworth, the former Wimbledon and QPR winger.

"We rate him highly. We think there are things to come for him and it's a case of keeping hold of him as long as we can. But I'm sure he'll go on to better and bigger things.

"There has been international interest, as well as from clubs in the Premier League and the Championship.

"I'm just waiting for that dreaded phone call when somebody puts the big offer in that would prise him away from here."

Football League's Young Player of the Month winners 2014-15
August: Dele Alli, MK Dons - Read more
September: Matt Ingram, Wycombe Wanderers

Ingram's departure would seem to be an inevitability, but when it does eventually happen, there will be no big-name flash agent to oversee the deal.

His father, the man who drove him around the country to play football as a kid, takes care of it all.

"You always have interest from agents just because you're a young, up and coming player. But I've stuck with my dad because he hasn't done me wrong so far," he said.

"Nothing has happened yet. When the time comes I will ask for advice from the gaffer and Barry Richardson, the goalkeeper coach.

"At the moment I'm focused on Wycombe until something - and if something - comes about."

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