Leyton Orient youngster Josh Koroma enjoying chance to learn off a ‘great role model’ in the shape of Jobi McAnuff

PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 April 2018

Josh Koroma celebrates after scoring for Leyton Orient against Gateshead in the FA Trophy - his first goal at Brisbane Road for the club (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Josh Koroma celebrates after scoring for Leyton Orient against Gateshead in the FA Trophy - his first goal at Brisbane Road for the club (pic: Simon O'Connor).

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One is the master of his trade and the other is looking to make his mark, but the Orient wingers have forged a close bond this season

Leyton Orient winger Jobi McAnuff dribbles past Boreham Wood opponent Kane Smith (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient winger Jobi McAnuff dribbles past Boreham Wood opponent Kane Smith (pic: Simon O'Connor).

For a 19-year-old trying to make his way in the professional game, there can’t be many better role models than Jobi McAnuff and it is therefore no real surprise Josh Koroma looks up to the winger.

McAnuff has played at Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and National League level during a 17-year career which began in 2001 at the original Wimbledon.

The 36-year-old has also played on 32 occasions for Jamaica and competed against Lionel Messi during the 2016 Copa America.

It is natural for McAnuff to be an inspiration for Koroma, who has worked his way through O’s academy over the past two years.

One is the master of his trade and the other is now McAnuff’s protégé and Orient’s number 19 has plenty of respect for the former Reading captain and now E10 skipper.

“Jobi’s a great role model and anyone in our team right now would 100 per cent take the career he has had,” said Koroma.

“He has played over 600 games, played over 20 international games and anyone would take the career he has had.”

The fact Koroma mentioned the appearances McAnuff has made suggests one of two things. The experienced winger has told the youngster his stats, which would not be a bad thing, and crucially Koroma’s listened.

Or, O’s teen has looked into the career of the Jamaican himself and it has added to his desire to play at the highest possible level.

Josh Koroma lets fly for Leyton Orient (pic: Simon O'Connor).Josh Koroma lets fly for Leyton Orient (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Either way, it seems positive for Koroma and he is relishing the chance to learn off someone who has played in the Premier League.

It isn’t a one-way bond either, as McAnuff is clearly enjoying the opportunity to take a youngster under his wing and admitted back in August it was one of the reasons he returned to the club – to help guide the next generation.

Koroma said: “I would say me and Jobi are very close. We room together on away trips and on the pitch he is always talking to me.

“He is happy when I am doing well and I am happy when he is doing well and he is always telling me how I can improve and what I can do better.

“After training he is always out on the pitch with me working on my game and helping me to better myself, so he has been great to me and that’s even when I wasn’t in the team (earlier this season).

“Back then he was always on at me, telling me how to improve and what I could do to get back playing again.”

If Koroma can continue to take on board McAnuff’s advice and use it to improve, it can only be a positive for everyone involved.

The pair both started for Orient on Tuesday during the 1-0 loss at Hartlepool United – a result which ended the O’s five-game unbeaten run.

Koroma made his 30th appearance of the season in all competitions against the Monkey Hangers, but he is eager to improve after a slow start to the campaign under previous head coach Steve Davis.

“I’m pleased with the ‘apps’ I’ve made. Obviously I would have liked to have been involved in a few more goals and had a few more assists,” said the academy graduate.

“But at the start of the season when I was playing, my performances were not good enough and I was not getting the stats I wanted.

“I’d like to think my stats since the gaffer (Justin Edinburgh) has come in have now improved. I think my goals and assists to game ratio have improved, but I want to keep improving.”

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