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Clay hails ‘special talent’ Ekpiteta and rest of the O’s back four

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 October 2018

Leyton Orient centre back Marvin Ekpiteta slides in on Hartlepool United's Luke James (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient centre back Marvin Ekpiteta slides in on Hartlepool United's Luke James (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The midfielder discussed Marvin Ekpiteta’s England C debut and praised the other members of Orient’s defence

Craig Clay has described his Leyton Orient team-mate Marvin Ekpiteta as a special talent after the centre back made his England C debut last Wednesday (October 10).

The defender played the full 90 minutes for his country as they defeated Estonia’s under-23s 1-0 in E10 at the Breyer Group Stadium.

Days later he was back in the O’s team for the visit of Hartlepool United and helped them secure a 0-0 draw which made it three clean sheets in a week for Ekpiteta after Orient had won 2-0 at Maidenhead United on October 6.

Midfielder Clay, who played for England C in March 2016, said: “It is a massive honour for a non-league player and ‘Marv’ is a special talent.

“He has shown that since coming in and I think he has been unbelievable. He deserved his England C opportunity and he deserved his Vanarama Player of the Month award, so he’s a top talent and fair play and full credit to him.”

Although Orient had hoped for three points from the clash with Hartlepool, given they had to play with 10 men for so long, a draw was a more than creditable result.

The O’s had chances to win it too, but the stalemate made it seven clean sheets for the season from 16 league games.

After conceding five goals from their first four matches, the likes of Ekpiteta and Josh Coulson have been rock solid at the back for Orient since.

Full-backs Myles Judd and Joe Widdowson have caught the eye as well, in spite of the latter’s red card on Saturday, and behind these four, Dean Brill has excelled following a slow start to the campaign.

“They are both solid,” Clay said, in reference to Coulson and Ekpiteta. “Josh always win stuff in the air and he did one at the end of the game with Hartlepool when he just boomed it downfield.

“It relieved the pressure and Marvin is a special talent as I have said before and all of the back four deserve credit.

“Myles ‘Juddy’ has been class, Joe has been class and (Sam) Ling come on and was class so fair play to them and ‘Brillo’ as well.

“We have a great set of lads and I think it says a lot when you come away from a 0-0 draw with 10 men and you are frustrated and not quite happy, so it shows how far we have come.”

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