BY the time most players reach their mid-thirties, thoughts of playing at their peak are often memories rather than the here and now.

It’s rather cruel that at a time when a player’s footballing intelligence is at its best, their body begins to let them down as the creaks of thousands of hours on the pitch begin to show.

However, there have always been exceptions to the rule.

Xavi only really began to light up the Camp Nou at the peak of his powers after passing the 30 mark; Andrea Pirlo’s poise and quiet brilliance didn’t come to the fore until he moved to Juventus at the ripe old age of 32; and closer to home, Celtic legend Henrik Larsson was the same age when he found the net 40 times for the Glasgow side and later won the Champions League at 35.

While Alan Trouten’s career is less likely to find its way into the annals of European football history, the striker’s impact in the Wee County at the age of 33 has been no less important in its own way.

The former Albion Rovers and Brechin City striker fired 19 goals and finished the Wasps’ top goalscorer as he helped seal his place in Alloa folklore during their triumphant Championship survival.

And for Trouten, the last two seasons - he scored 27 goals for the Coatbridge side before moving to Alloa - have proven to be the best of his career at a time when many begin to think about winding down.

“I love the game and as I have gotten older I have begun to appreciate it more,” Trouten told Advertiser Sport as he reflected on his age-defying success. “The last two seasons, I have played more than I have done in years gone by and didn’t miss a single game with Alloa.”

Trouten turns 34 in November and for many the natural choice would be to now look to a post-playing future.

But, he remains fully focused on the job at hand despite fleeting thoughts of a career in coaching.

“I go through fits and starts where I really think about wanting to do it,” he said. “But then there are other nights when it is pouring with rain and I think maybe I would rather be sitting at home and watching the Champions League.

“For now, I have got my hands full with work, football and family life. I would look to go into coaching and hope it happens.

“Playing under a manager who plays to your strength is vital. I have played with teams before in the Championship who have maybe just sat in and tried to defend and that’s not really suited me.

“The club tries to play football, tries to take teams on, and we try to play to our strengths.

“The gaffer has put together a team that had excellent football players in it and we don’t try to change the way we play.

“The majority of the time we go and play our natural game and I fit pretty well into that.”

Trouten was one 12 players to sign on the dotted line to another season at the Recs as Jim Goodwin began his summer recruitment.

Only Jordan Kirkpatrick decided to move on to pastures new and Trouten believes the club’s core - including the Iain Flannigan and Andy Graham - has been the key to their success in recent times.

Trouten said: “As soon as the gaffer offered me it, it was a no-brainer. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and played pretty well and was part of a successful season.

“It’s a great dressing room and a great bunch of boys.The majority of the core have been there for a good few years and I knew a couple from having played with them previously.

“I knew the type of boys they were and I fit in pretty well. You go training on a Tuesday and a Thursday and you just enjoy it. I’ve been at teams before where you are heading to training and you are just dreading it.

“The nucleus and the core has been there for at least three or four years and have stayed together since the Paul Hartley days. The gaffer then recruited players last summer that fitted in so well to the dressing room.

“Everyone knows how well the club is run if you’ve been to Alloa.

“Before I signed, I spoke in-depth to Graeme Holmes and Jason Marr and just everything they said about the club has come true. It’s very well run and better run that some full-time teams.”

While not setting himself any personal targets for the coming year, Trouten believes the club can secure survival once again.

They will kick off their season with the Betfred Cup against Hibs, Stirling Albion, Arbroath, and Elgin, however, before switching their focus to the league.

He added: “It’s an exciting group and it’s one we will look to do well in.

“I think that set us up well last season and we will look to do the same again.

“As I said to everyone last season, we’ve got good players in that dressing room and many who could easily play at a higher level.

“We are confident against anyone and we will be the same this season.”