Doncaster Rovers: ‘I won’t let those who give me a hard time affect my game’ – John Marquis on frustration, fiery confrontations and being ‘underappreciated’

John Marquis
John Marquis

No one could accuse of John Marquis of hiding his emotions – particularly when frustration is his primary feeling.

A misplaced pass from a team mate will be met with plenty of gesticulating and a few sharp words from the striker, such is his clear and obvious determination to succeed.

It is something for which he does not apologise, a stance backed by boss Grant McCann who shares his fierce desire for winning.

As a striker, the 26-year-old is in the goals business first and foremost. And right now, business is good with a burst of three in his last four matches moving him onto 13 for the season.

But his importance to the Rovers side stretches beyond what is a pretty decent strike rate.

Above all else, Marquis is a workhorse. His running is tireless, his work ethic relentless, whether it be making off the ball runs or dropping deep to claim possession and help spark an attack.

That part of his game means that whenever he is not scoring, he is still making a major difference for the team.

That fact, he feels, is often lost among some sections of the Rovers support – which perhaps has led to some of his more frustrated moments on the Keepmoat pitch.

So when asked if he felt that side of the game was underappreciated, he gave a rather emphatic response: “Yes.

“I think it's almost expected of me.

“That’s just how I am. I just play that way and that's the levels and standards I set for myself.

“I will work hard. I will do all of that stuff for the team. My hold up play, my link up play I think it's good and it obviously helps the team because the manager wouldn’t keep picking me when I’m not scoring.

”My all round performances I think have been good. I’d say they’ve been above average for what I do for to the team.

“I cover the most distances in games, the most sprints, high intensity metres. The work rate is there for the team.

“I do think it is underappreciated.

“People are entitled to their own opinions but in terms of my work rate and what I bring to the team I think it helps.

“Unless I’m told otherwise I won’t be changing my game.”

There was an attempt, early on in McCann’s tenure at Rovers, to encourage Marquis to stick on the shoulder of the opposition defence and curb his enthusiasm to go looking for the ball.

Though he has adapted his game somewhat to his boss’ wishes, Marquis continues to charge around in the opposition half.

While he continues to deliver goals, his manager is unlikely to be on his case about to where exactly he is making his runs.

Last weekend’s goal at Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup moved him onto 13 for the season – just two shy of the total he managed in the entirety of the last campaign.

As he continues to deliver on the workrate front and is continually becoming more potent at League One level, he struggles to shake off the criticism he receives when he is not scoring.

This came to a head when Rovers hosted Chorley in the FA Cup first round replay last month.

After missing a penalty, Marquis was the subject of several shouts from the stands, with the low crowd for the fixture making them perfectly audible for those in attendance.

He got one from just a few yards away as he collected the ball out wide, late on in the game.

Then he cut inside, to the edge of the area and curled a beautiful effort into the top corner to net Rovers’ seventh goal of the evening.

He immediately spun and offered a few words of his own back towards where the shout had come from before cupping his ears to the three stands containing home supporters at the Keepmoat.

“You asked if I feel like it's underappreciated and I said it is,” he told the Free Press.​​​​​​​

“I think when I’m not scoring, I think people don’t realise what I am offering to the team.

“As a striker you’re obviously judged on goals and I still have 13 goals so far.

“I don’t know exactly where that puts me across the country but I’d guess that puts me in the top ten or five scorers in the country at the moment.

“On top of that, what else I bring the team I think is underappreciated at times.

“But people are entitled to their own opinions. I’m not going to let five or six people who want to give me a hard time affect my game.

“I feel like the perfect thing to do is what I did last week and put in the top corner and then turn around and say ‘there you go.’

“I think you’re allowed to let out a bit of frustration. That is the way I am, the way I play.

“I play on the edge and I want to win every single game.

“I feel the other week it was a bit unfair, the criticism I was receiving when we were 7-0 up in the cup.

“That was the reason why.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

In explaining his often frustrated demeanour on the pitch, it is fair to say not scoring goals only heightens that mood in him.

“You're judged on goals as a striker but everything else I bring helps the team,” he said.

“When you’re not getting the right chances and you feel like you’re getting in the right areas, you’re bound to get frustrated.

“And I would say I think I get more frustrated than most.

“I set such high standards for myself and for my team.

“I want to get to a level above where we are now and I just want to keep improving, keep getting in right areas and eventually the chances will come like they did against Blackpool.

“As long as I’m getting in the right areas I’ll go through another patch like I did in September and hopefully get another five or six goals in quick succession.

“I tend to go on runs.

“I want to kick on between now and the end of the season, but especially over the Christmas period and put us in a good position in January.”