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East Thurrock boss John Coventry expects new Leyton Orient defender Marvin Ekpiteta to flourish in full time football

PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 February 2018

Marvin Ekpiteta (centre, purple kit) in action for East Thurrock United at St Albans City (pic: Leigh Page).

Marvin Ekpiteta (centre, purple kit) in action for East Thurrock United at St Albans City (pic: Leigh Page).

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The former Chelmsford City and Concord Rangers centre back has been backed to have a bright future in the professional game

East Thurrock United manager John Coventry was surprised his talented young defender Marvin Ekpiteta wasn’t snapped up by a bigger club quicker.

The 22-year-old agreed a deal with Leyton Orient until the summer of 2020 on January 31 – transfer deadline day.

Ekpiteta has returned to Rocks on loan until the end of the campaign and Coventry has discussed the potential of the centre back.

He said: “We have probably had about 30 scouts watching him over the last few weeks and if anything I’m surprised nobody moved quicker.

“I want to push players on and we’ve done it with a few now and the hope is they will tell other people East Thurrock isn’t a bad place to come to and develop.”

The Rocks signed the former Oxford United youngster back in January 2017 after previous spells with fellow National League South sides Chelmsford City and Concord Rangers.

He quickly became a regular in the East Thurrock team and the hard work and dedication of the centre back has paid off.

“I’m really pleased for Marvin because he’s a really nice lad and he has come on and improved so much,” said Coventry.

“With full time training I think he will get even better and I do feel he can go even higher given time and I’m sure he will do well for Orient.

“The fact he has been part of the professional game before will help him.

“At 22 he’s a man and physically he will bulk up some more with full time training, so I think he will only continue to improve.

“I’m really pleased we have him back until the end of the season because it means we can give him a proper send off in a few months.

“And I have to say I’m really thankful to Orient for allowing us to keep him and to Marvin because he wanted to stay and he said that to Martin Ling and I also said the same to Martin, so we really appreciate that.”

Coventry was reluctant to take credit for the progress made by Ekpiteta over the last 12 months, but he is pleased to have played a small part in his recent rise.

The one-time Nigeria under-20 international has played over a 100 times in the National League South since joining Chelmsford in the summer of 2015.

He added: “We only spend a Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday together so I’d love to say I have made him into a good centre half, but it is just game time.

“We have given him confidence to play in an environment where you can make mistakes and not get blasted and we are pleased to see how much he has improved.”

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