MICHAEL Wilde surprised many in Welsh football circles this summer when he signed for Flint Town United after his goals had helped Connah’s Quay Nomads secure successive JD Cymru Premier titles.

Named the league’s player of the season for 2020-21 thanks to his prolific form in front of goal, the Wirral-born striker opted to take on a new challenge under Neil Gibson at the Essity Stadium.

Despite being in the twilight of his career, the 38-year-old isn’t close to hanging up boots that have already put the ball in the net 13 times in all competitions so far this term.

Only Declan McManus of The New Saints, with 12, has more in the league than Wilde, whose team-mate Jack Kenny is not far behind on eight.

For Wilde, age is just a number, and he feels it’s his many years in the game that keeps him going.

“I turn 39 next August and I’m trying to blank it out,” he said. “In my head I keep telling myself that I’m 21!

“It’s always a compliment when an opponent says, ‘Are you still playing?’ That means I’m still at the forefront of their mind and it could play a part in us getting a result.

“I’ve always been told by managers to keep doing it for as long as I can and that’s what I will do.

“It’s hard to replace that feeling of scoring a goal or coming off when you know you’ve played your part in a good performance.

“I’ve got my body used to dealing with the physical demands for 23 years now. You get used to it.

“There’s something going on inside that means I’m able to go again in training or ask my body for more during a game.

“It gets built into you after a while and my body seems to be holding up, although these days it hits me two days after a game, that’s when I get the aches and pains.”

He added: “I’m quite religious and thorough about my preparation for training sessions and matches. I still prepare like I did when I was full-time.

“I believe I still perform well on the pitch.

“Helping the team come out of games with positive results and getting on the scoresheet are two boxes I want to tick.

“I feel like there is enough in me to be able to maintain that.

“I’m very happy with my performances, although there are always areas to improve on.

“I’ve been getting on the scoresheet this season, but the most important thing is that the team wins.”

When Wilde arrived at Flint in the close season, he joined a club that had just finished in the bottom two in the league.

But with some shrewd signings, including that of the former TNS marksman, the Silkmen now find themselves second in the table and occupying a European place.

And Wilde is in no doubt that making the switch was the right choice.

He said: “It’s exactly what I needed at this stage of my career, a fresh challenge.

“The aspirations at Connah’s Quay were to win the league and knock TNS off their perch, and I think we did that in style.

“I was more than happy to help with that and score a hatful of goals with a lot of accolades and European experiences, but the move to Flint was ideal.

“I came to challenge myself with a club looking to break into the top six and do things the right way.

“I’m looking forward to doing what needs to be done, which is making Flint a successful Cymru Premier side that can compete in Europe.”