The Big Interview: Why fatherhood has come at a good time for John Marquis

John Marquis sends a message to his newborn daughter after scoring against Bradford
John Marquis sends a message to his newborn daughter after scoring against Bradford

John Marquis has just become a new dad – and he fancies being more of a father figure in the Rovers squad as well.

The striker welcomed daughter Primrose into the world four weeks ago in what he called a life-changing experience.

And it is possible his new found fatherly responsibility has brought out his nurturing nature at work also.

“I’m only 25 but I feel like I’m an experienced member of the squad with the number of games I’ve played,” he told the Free Press.

“With the age of the squad, I’m probably one of the older lads so I want to take on a bit more responsibility.

“I think the manager wants to give that responsibility to me as well, being a leader.

“Not just on the pitch but off it as well.

“If I’m being childish and getting silly bookings it’s not a good example to the other players.

“That is something I still need to address.

“If I just curb my aggression, hopefully that can help the team.”

Not only has fatherhood focused Marquis’ mind on his behaviour, the fact he was walking a disciplinary tightrope also helped him to take stock.

The 25-year-old picked up his ninth booking of the season at Portsmouth at the start of February. Another one would have led to a two match suspension.

While Marquis’ enthusiasm and hard work did not wane under threat of an enforced spell on the sidelines, he did manage to keep at bay other aspects of his game.

Over the last couple of months he has been less overt in his desire to wind up opposition defences, avoiding the ‘silly’ bookings he referenced.

Monday night’s win over Bradford City – in which Marquis netted twice – was Rovers’ 37th league game of the campaign, meaning the striker has now passed the cut off point and the threat of a ban is gone.

But he remains determined to continue to avoid those unnecessary yellow cards.

“It was about not getting myself into some unneeded situations, which I do sometimes get myself into,” Marquis said.

“I stepped away from that. I’ve not shied away from tackles and the physical battle.

“If anything that side of it has been there more than it normally has.

“I think it’s just been about playing the game, being cute and not doing anything rash.

“I think I’ve shown some maturity by not getting booked because it would have been a big miss for myself and the team.

“I’m glad it’s out of the way now.

“When you get down to the end where it’s only one or two games left, it is in your mind a little bit but it’s gone now.”

Marquis’ brace in the 2-0 win over Bradford earlier this week took him onto 12 goals for the campaign.

While he has not hit the net with the blistering regularity he did in the march to promotion from League Two last season, he says adding a few more to his tally in the last nine games will leave him satisfied with his haul from what has been his first full term in the third tier.

And he believes his performances this season have shown he brings more than just goals to this Rovers team.

“I went ten games without scoring so if you took out that run, it wouldn’t be a bad record,” he said.

“But when I wasn’t scoring, I don’t think my performances were poor.

“I was doing everything the same, if not playing better during that run but I wasn’t taking chances or they weren’t coming my may.

“Now I’ve got a good combination of the both – taking chances and playing well.

“I’ve got a lot to thank the manager for, as I’ve said many times in the past.

“To keep picking your centre forward who has not scored for a few games shows he believes in me, in what I do and in what I bring to the team.

“Sometimes it isn’t about goals, it’s about performing well.

“At the time, we were winning games so I felt I was playing a part in it.

“Now that spell is long behind me and in the last five or six games I’ve picked up a few goals and I want to keep doing that.”

Back on the goal trail and looking to push his tally closer to 20 for the season, Marquis is in a good place.

Particularly so when you add the new father glow into the mix.

“Just before the Rotherham game, the missus gave birth to my little girl Primrose,” he said.

“She was four weeks old on Wednesday.

“It’s been very good. A couple of sleepless nights but at the same time it’s been an amazing experience and I’m loving every minute of it.

“My missus does a great job. She takes care of a lot of the hard stuff and lets me rest. I sleep in the spare room before games so I get a good night’s sleep.

“Daytime, when I get back from training, it’s daddy day care and I take over so she can get some rest.

“It’s been brilliant. I can’t describe it.

“It’s been life-changing.

“And three goals in three games since she arrived – it’s been a good omen for me.”

Marquis is taking to this father role quite well – on and off the pitch.