Itâ€™s been a long road trying to compete with the best after McAuley sacked off his job as a technical drawer, aged 21, to focus on his blossoming career as a footballer.
â€śIt was always my aim to be a footballer and Iâ€™ve not finished progressing yet,â€ť he told the Sunday Mercury.
â€śIf I can establish myself for another couple of years here then I will be proud of it. It was always going to be tough coming into the professional game late but Iâ€™m enjoying the challenge.
â€śI went to University (of Ulster in Jordanstown) for a bit and I went on work experience and I ended staying on and working for the company doing technical drawing on the computer.
â€śI finished school and did my A-Levels, but I wanted the work, I really enjoyed the drawing as well as the football.
â€śI used to do two or three nights training but that was tough when youâ€™re working all day, itâ€™s a long day. I still speak to some of the lads that are still doing that.
â€śIt just got to the stage where I decided to give up the job because football was my goal. I was playing for Crusaders and then Coleraine in a semi-pro league and doing quite well.
â€śBut there was things like transfer fees that was always in the back of my mind. Itâ€™s a gamble waiting for someone to come and take you out of a semi-pro league in Ireland when youâ€™re just 21.
â€śI made sure that I became fitter and stronger so that if a chance came along I didnâ€™t have to bridge that gap.
â€śWhen I did get a chance the fitness and strength was there and eventually it worked out and Iâ€™m ever so grateful for it.â€ť