Former Leyton Orient of England-based defender, Marvin Ekpiteta has received warm welcome comments from English League One side, Blackpool, where the 24-year-old lad signed a two-year deal at the start of this week, megasportsarena.com reports.
In the wake of Ekpiteta’s deal with The Seasiders, the club’s coach, Neil Critchley has come out with lofty words and accolades for the youngster, who his team signed with an option to extend terms of the agreement that took him in from The Os by a further year.
It is another major step; forward for Ekpiteta, who joined Orient in 2018 from non-league side, East Thurrock United after growing through the academy at Oxford United, before which he had spent all of his early career with non-league clubs, including Chelmsford City, Witham Town and Concord Rangers.
In the 2018/19 season, he was a regular in the Orient side that went on to secure the National League title, and subsequently gained a return to the Football League, after which he was also a key figure in the club’s run to the FA Trophy final in 2019, where they eventually lost 1-0 to AFC Fylde at Wembley.
Ekpiteta continued to appear regularly as The Os settled for a lower mid-table finish in their first season back in League Two, as he put in consistent performances at centre-back and was rated one of the club’s top performers in a campaign of consolidation.
He now has the chance to test himself at a higher level, where analysts believe he will be well guided by Critchley, who has previous experience of working with youngsters at Liverpool and has now declared that Blackpool are delighted to welcome the highly talented defender.
The gaffer retorted that it is a great pleasure getting a hold of Ekpiteta on a two-year-contract, with an option to extend the deal by a further year for the 24-year-old lad, who made more than 70 appearances for Orient and was instrumental in the club’s promotion to League Two in 2019.
He was also rewarded for his consistent performances that season by winning Leyton Orient’s Young Player of the Year Award, such that Critchley admits he has a solid potential for greatness in the six-foot-four central defender, who has represented Nigeria and England at youth levels.
Ekpiteta said: “I’m so happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve spoken to Neil and the Club is oozing positivity at the moment, so I feel this is a perfect opportunity to show what I can do. I love to defend and am also confident to play with the ball at my feet when the time is right, so I feel I have a lot to offer to Blackpool.”
Critchley added: “Marvin is an excellent young defender with bags of potential, and we’re thrilled to have him here. He’s a player who has progressed from non-league and has impressed everywhere he has been, and this is the next step in his career. He’s an athletic defender, who will be a wonderful asset to the squad going forward.”
On the other hand, Leyton Orient’s coach, Ross Embleton confessed that he was disappointed to lose a key player, especially as Ekpiteta had rejected numerous good offers to stay at the club, but concluded by wishing the lad the best of time at his new base, where he is bound to face a new and stiffer challenge.
He said: “We’re very disappointed to lose any player, but someone like Marv who has been on a successful journey with us in recent times is hard to take. The club did everything in their power to retain Marvin at the club, but ultimately his interests lay elsewhere, and we wish him well in his challenge.”