John Marquis: Portsmouth role not natural to me - but I'm learning

John Marquis has pledged to continue learning the role he is convinced doesn’t represent a long-term solution.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:05 am

Since early November, Kenny Jackett has sought to mould the summer arrival from Doncaster into a number 10 for Pompey.

It’s a responsibility only ever previously asked of Marquis during a few games of a three-month Leyton Orient loan spell in 2015-16.

Instead, the 27-year-old has established a reputation as a prolific centre-forward in the lower leagues.

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John Marquis insists he is still coming to terms with the new number 10 role. Picture: Paul Thompson/ProSportsImages

Nonetheless, of late, Marquis has been handed increased opportunity behind the striker in Jackett’s favoured 4-2-3-1, netting the winner as a substitute against AFC Wimbledon from the number 10 position.

And he’s working hard to adjust to a challenge he admits does not come naturally.

Marquis said: ‘It’s not a natural role, to be honest.

‘I had a loan spell at Leyton Orient where I played as a number 10 for a bit, just behind two strikers, but apart from that, which was only a few games, I’ve not really played there.

‘However, I feel I’ve got the attributes to play there in this way which we play.

‘I’ve got good energy, good athleticism, know how to get into the box and time my runs, while can do the ugly side as well, winning tackles and second balls, which is a big part of playing in this team.

‘It’s not my favoured position or where I want to be, I don’t think it’s a long-term thing, possibly, but I feel, with the way we play at the moment, the manager and assistant are keeping their options open.

‘I have been working at both roles, trying to improve, attempting to put a stamp on the team when I’ve been playing, you need to be creative and contributing in those positions.

‘Since the change in November, apart from Fleetwood and the second half at MK Dons, when I played up front in both, I’ve featured as a number 10.

‘And happily last week was a good one.’

Marquis’ goal-scoring entrance from the bench against the Dons marked his third goal in eight days for the Blues.

And he’s eyeing a return to his new role at Bolton on Saturday.

He added: ‘It’s a new position but I am enjoying it, getting on the pitch is the main thing for me.

‘I am learning every day, I want to keep learning, I feel there's so much development left in my game.

‘As I see it, there’s myself, Cannon, Pits and Gaz who play in that role and I wouldn’t say any two are the same, we all bring different qualities to that, different players suit different games.

‘It’s a position I am learning and trying to improve.’