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Doncaster Rovers: Simplicity is key in new role for flying John Marquis

John Marquis
John Marquis

In the short time that Grant McCann has been in charge of Doncaster Rovers he has sparked the evolution of a number of players.

Whether it be at creating ultra-attacking full backs, converting Ben Whiteman into a deeper-lying midfielder or unlocking Matty Blair's goalscoring prowess, it is fair to say most of the squad has seen some change in what they offer to the side.

Arguably the player that has come in to most intense spotlight in relation to his role in the team is John Marquis.

It became clear early in pre-season that the focus of Marquis' game would have to shift at least slightly if he was going to have success in a McCann side.

The unselfish desperation to drop deep and claim the ball would not be as useful for a team set up only to go in one direction.

The job of claiming possession and creating openings would be tasked to others. Marquis, as the central striker, would be task with scoring goals and creating spaces for other.

With nine goals inside the first two months of the season, it is safe to suggest that Marquis and McCann have found common ground.

The striker himself says the process has not been a complicated one. In fact, he suggests his game has been made more simple by the new Rovers boss.

“The manager has almost simplified my game,” Marquis said.

“He's made it pretty clear, without giving too much away, that I need to just keep making runs.

He keeps saying that I might make ten runs and not get the ball but the 11th time I do then I'll get a goal.”

Marquis admits the changes to his game have required some patience on his part as he bides his time for an opportunity rather than constantly looking to generate his own.

“It sounds easy but it can get frustrating,” he said.

“Earlier on in the season I was thinking I'm making runs but not getting the ball.

But the more that we're getting better as a team, the players are seeing the runs, the passes are coming in quicker. I'm making the runs, which the gaffer wants me to do and we're getting some success from it.

“Again, we can't get too carried away but we're quietly and confidently going about our business.”

The last thing you could ever accuse Marquis of is being a selfish player.

His game, particularly last season, was built on an incredible work rate that last weekend saw him reach the 100 league appearance mark for Rovers in little more than two seasons.

At Plymouth Argyle he netted his 50th goal for the club in a vital double that helped earn the 3-2 win.

And he knows more goals will come from the selfless off the ball runs he is now instructed to make on a regular basis.

“It's just part of the game,” he said.

“It's not all about me, it's not all about one player. It's about what is best for the team.

“We feel if we can stretch the opposition's back line and the front players then we can get Coppinger and Wilks in pockets in front of them and I can make runs in behind.

“You could see at the weekend that we were close to getting on a few slide balls down the side. That was part of our plan of where we felt we could hurt them.

“That comes from me stretching the game as well as James Coppinger and Mallik Wilks. It opens up space for other players like Matty Blair who can get higher and cause them other problems.

“We work really hard, the management team work hard on how we can hurt teams and I think it's been showing.”