“He’s a freak, he’s in the best shape.”
Despite winning the 2019 Footballer of the Year award – and making Pundit Arena’s 2020 All-Star team – Cluxton was snubbed once again and has won just one All-Star in the last seven seasons.
Dublin teammate Fenton was full of praise for Cluxton’s influence on this Dublin team.
Speaking to the media after winning the 2020 PwC GAA/GPA Footballer of the Year for the second time in three years, the Raheny man spoke of his goalkeeper’s incredible dedication – describing him as a “freak.”
“Every year you’d be in the dressing room after an All Ireland Final and we’d all start chanting ‘One more year, Cluxo, one more year!’ He’s a freak, he’s in the best shape,” Fenton said.
“He’d be sending me 10 minute YouTube videos of abs sessions he’s doing online and I’d be thinking ‘How are you doing this?’ He’s a freak, in the best possible way.”
Regarding retirement talk, Fenton is adamant that Cluxton won’t be hanging up the gloves just yet.
“As players, if everything is good in your life and your body is in good shape, you’re not getting injured and you still think you have something to offer,” the 27-year-old explained.
“Well then no one is going to tell you to step away if you’re as keen as ever.
“And Cluxo has never lost that. He always talks about his role and his vision is just to help and facilitate us and drive us on.”
In respect to another All-Star snub, the two-time Footballer of the Year feels for his teammate but insisted that the six-time All-Star winner doesn’t “care too much” for individual awards.
“You’d feel for him but he doesn’t care too much for All-Stars I’d say,” Fenton continued.
“Everyone knows Stephen Cluxton is the greatest, everyone knows that and it doesn’t take an All-Star in 2020 to remind us of that, everyone knows he will always go down as the best ever.
“I’m just so lucky to know him personally. Just as I look over my laptop screen here, I see a picture from Philly McMahon’s wedding and it’s me and Stephen Cluxton in one of those photo booths.
“I have pictures of Stephen Cluxton all around my house, it’s a bit weird. He’s just a legend!”
On this day 9 years ago. "Stephen Cluxton to win the All Ireland." The beginning of an incredible decade of success for Dublin 💙 pic.twitter.com/TBQywLdjfX
— Hill 16 Army (@Hill16Army) September 18, 2020
Raymond Galligan pipped Cluxton to this year’s All-Star and the Raheny man lauded the Cavan goalkeeper for his phenomenal season – with a particular mention to his contribution in the Ulster final win over Donegal.
“And I have to pay tribute to Raymond Galligan as well, obviously the year he’s had is unreal,” Fenton added.
“You can’t begrudge him, obviously I’m a Dub and Stephen Cluxton blah blah blah but you can’t begrudge Raymond Galligan either.
“To come up and kick a winner in the Ulster Final or against Monaghan or whatever it was, it was unreal, the stuff of dreams.
“They got just rewards for their efforts this year and I’m delighted for Raymond Galligan as well.”
Fenton describes Cluxton as the GOAT (Greatest of all time) and also gave a mention to his understudy – Evan Comerford – who has excelled any time he has had to deputise for the long-standing Dublin number one.
“Evan Comerford for example is another goalkeeper on our team but just so happens to be playing with Stephen Cluxton which is unfortunate and many a goalkeeper has felt that fate in Dublin,” Fenton stated.
“But the work that Evan puts in behind the scenes is unbelievable. Evan will present to you on Westmeath’s kickouts for 20 minutes.
“These young lads are just presenting, doing their own analysis in their own time, coming to you as a midfielder saying ‘Fento, have you seen this? Have you looked at that?’
“You’re almost in awe of them and thinking ‘Jesus, I should be doing a bit more to be honest!”
Comerford’s contributions sum up the extraordinary bond that this Dublin team have and Fenton feels the management team help create the environment for younger players to blossom.
“So it’s unreal, it’s such magic. I don’t know how it’s been created,” the five-time All-Star winner said.
“A lot of work has gone into it but for lads to come in, they’re young and they’re thrown in front of the group, which has been facilitated by management probably.
“But then they just take it on themselves and they go away and do their own work and it’s unreal to see.”