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Orient captain explains Koroma and Happe's key mentality change

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 May 2019

Josh Koroma is all smiles in the Leyton Orient dressing room after promotion to the Football League is secured (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Josh Koroma is all smiles in the Leyton Orient dressing room after promotion to the Football League is secured (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The 37-year-old revealed a key moment in the development of O's brightest talents which helped towards this title success

Jobi McAnuff and Justin Edinburgh tease the Leyton Orient players before lifting the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).Jobi McAnuff and Justin Edinburgh tease the Leyton Orient players before lifting the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff has discussed the change of mindset players like Dan Happe and Josh Koroma have gone through over the last two seasons.

The pair are two of several academy graduates in the O's squad who have played a big part in this promotion back to the Football League.

Boss Justin Edinburgh has never been afraid to give them a chance and Koroma recently made his 100th appearance for the club while Happe has been an ever-present in 2019.

Yet everything could have worked out differently had the youngsters at Orient not been made aware being part of the squad was not enough.

McAnuff explained: “I can't speak highly enough of all the young players and I think their mentality has changed and been as big as anything.

“When I first came in, it was almost like because they were in and around the squad that was kind of okay.

“I obviously had an inside track into that final season in the league and they were all involved and it was really difficult for them.

“But after relegation, it turned around into them needing to be proper players now regardless of if they are 17, 18, 19 or 20 because when you are out on the pitch, you are regarded as anyone else and they have all done it.”

While Koroma and Happe have been integral to this title win, right-backs Sam Ling and Myles Judd have played a big part too and back-up goalkeeper Sam Sargeant has pushed Dean Brill every day.

Craig Clay (left), Josh Koroma (centre) and Myles Judd celebrate winning the National League title with injured Leyton Orient team-mate James Dayton in the background on crutches (pic: Simon O'Connor).Craig Clay (left), Josh Koroma (centre) and Myles Judd celebrate winning the National League title with injured Leyton Orient team-mate James Dayton in the background on crutches (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Orient also have numerous other youngsters knocking on the door with Ruel Sotiriou, Hector Kyprianou, Jayden Sweeney, Shadrach Ogie and Arthur Janata kicking on while out on loan during the past 12 months.

“They have stood up and been brilliant and Dan Happe and Josh Koroma are two in particular of the young guys who have really stepped up and played with a maturity way beyond their years,” McAnuff added.

“Josh and Dan have both had a massive impact on what we have achieved and I said to Josh afterwards not many 20-year-olds have a promotion on their CV and have been such an integral part of it.

“They should use this to kick them on and use it to motivate them to go further now in their careers.”

A big person behind the youngsters changing their mentality and the other players in the squad following suit was Justin Edinburgh.

McAnuff said: “The gaffer is about accountability – personally and collectively – and he's really instilled a winning mentality and a desire to just be the best you can every day and not to accept a lack of effort.

“Everyone has got to be accounted for every time we step not just onto the match pitch, but the training ground.

“We've got a fantastic squad of lads, some haven't played as much as they've wanted, but their attitude and application every day is what has driven the team on this season and that's why we have got what we have.”

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