All Whites striker Max Mata returns to Ireland in search of more game time

New Zealand international forward Max Mata has returned to his former League of Ireland club, Sligo Rovers.

Max (23) has been loaned to Rovers on a short-term deal by English League One outfit Shrewsbury Town who signed him in August 2023, paying an undisclosed fee to Sligo.

READ MORE: All Whites striker Max Mata completes move to English club Shrewsbury Town >>>>

Main photo: Max Mata … ‘Sligo was always my first choice.’

Since joining Shrewsbury, Mata has struggled for game time and a change of manager has seen him drop down the pecking order for selection.

Auckland-born Mata has now been reunited with All Whites teammate Nando Pijnaker at the club for whom he scored 11 goals in 23 appearances.

Mata told and Ocean FM‘s Donal Ryan:

“So, the situation over at my club in England was I was not finding much game time. I was pretty much looking around where I could go, and this was an option for me, and it was definitely one I was excited to take.

“Sligo was always my first choice.

“First day in, a lot of new faces which is good but a lot of the same faces which is also very good. But not only for myself, but for the club.”

Sligo Rovers manager John Russell told RTE:

“I’m absolutely delighted to get Max back in. When he left, he was the top goalscorer in the league and, in my opinion, the best centre-forward in the league, too.

“To get him back into the fold for start of the season is a real boost.

“Max is a modern centre-forward, he can link play, run in behind and he’s a real threat.

“He knows the environment, knows the players, knows the way we want to play, and we feel he can hit the ground running.”

Mata will miss Friday’s league opener against Bohemians as he waits for a work permit but could be available for Rovers’ match against Derry City a week later.

Mata played his club football in New Zealand for Onehunga Sports, Eastern Suburbs and the Wellington Phoenix reserves, and made his All Whites debut in 2019.

More football stories