Orient loan 'an invaluable experience' for Marsh
Wed 27 May 2020, 15:41|Tottenham Hotspur
The League Two season may have halted prematurely, but George Marsh feels like he’s only just getting started after a positive first campaign in senior football on loan at Leyton Orient.
A regular in our Under-23 set-up in recent years while also making a handful of appearances in pre-season for the first team, George made his competitive debut in our FA Cup win at Tranmere Rovers in January, 2019, before being named on the bench for Premier League matches against Huddersfield Town and Everton in the closing stages of last term. He was also part of the travelling squad for the Champions League Final in Madrid.
However, it’s been his willingness to learn and, in his own words, “adapt”, amid a highly-competitive campaign at Orient that has taken his development on even further in 2019/20.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first year in senior football,” said the 21-year-old. “It took a little bit of adaptation to start off with, but I don’t feel like it took me long to settle in. For me, I’ve really learned this year how to adjust because quite a big element of the football in League Two is the physical part, so I’ve had to learn how to adapt my game to meet the demands of how physical it is.
“Having to play a lot of weeks on a Tuesday night and then another game on a Saturday is very demanding so you have to make sure you’re always recovering properly, so you know by the Saturday you’re 100 per cent ready to go again for another 90 minutes.
“It’s been good gaining experience from a lot of experienced players as well, top professionals who have played lots of games in the Football League. I’m really thankful to everyone at the club for everything they’ve done for me.”
A hard-working central midfielder by trade, George began the season in the holding role for Ross Embleton’s side, but switched to right-back mid-way through the campaign and had started Orient’s last 17 consecutive games in League Two before the outbreak of COVID-19 brought a halt to proceedings in the division. His prior experience of playing at full-back in our Academy sides and occasionally with our senior team in pre-season meant he was able to flourish wherever he was deployed.
“It’s been good for me to operate in different areas of the pitch,” said George, who made 29 appearances in all competitions for the O’s. “I played the first part of the season in midfield and then towards the end I played at right-back, which I feel was good for me to show some variety in my game. Again, I had to find a way to adapt my performances so that I could stay as a regular in the team. It’s been an invaluable experience for me.”
The path from N17 to E10 is a familiar one for our Academy players – stars like Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Tom Carroll all spent time on loan at Orient before going on to forge careers at the highest level. Striker Harry, now the England captain, recently swooped to help out his former side by sponsoring the club’s match shirts for next season, displaying the logos of three charities on the front.
“Knowing how much the loan experience at Leyton Orient helped them to get to where they are today, I think what I’ve experienced this season can only be of benefit going forward,” added George. “I hope that I’ve been able to contribute to the club’s progress on the field and for me, I hope the knowledge that I’ve taken from this loan helps to set me up for a good career in the game.”