Colchester United captain Magnus Okuonghae plays every U’s game as if it’s his last
- Credit: Lucy taylor
Magnus Okuonghae is determined to make every game of his football career count, following a difficult start to the season with Colchester United.
The U’s club captain, out-of-contract in the summer, has been sent-off twice already and was left out of the recent 2-1 home win against Chesterfield – albeit he was brought on for the injured Frankie Kent after just five minutes.
The 28-year-old started last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Swindon but, with Kent fit again, manager Tony Humes has a dilemma at centre-half, with Tom Eastman likely to keep his spot for tomorrow’s home clash with Port Vale.
The former Dagenham & Redbrige man is all too aware how quickly it can change in football and is taking nothing for granted.
“We have seen it here. There are players that went to war with us last season to stay in the division, people like Marcus Bean, Dominic Vose and Jabo Ibehre, that are struggling to get a look-in at the minute,” he said.
“There have been no talks about my contract yet and I wouldn’t have expected there to be any as I’ve had a stop-start season.
“In previous seasons I was playing every minute, whereas this season I have already been sent off twice and missed a lot of games.
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“I just want to get my head down, it’s been frustrating and the most important thing is to play.
“You have got to treat every game as your last in terms of the way you play and train and you have got to have that desire.”
That positive attitude has made the 6ft 2ins defender a popular figure at Colchester, Okuonghae having the right credentials to be club captain.
“I would like to think I lead by example when I play and all the boys know I am approachable and get along with everyone,” said the defender.
“I am the longest-serving player here now, I have got a good relationship with everyone at the club and it’s just a case of being as professional as I can.
“In this day and age, the game is so ruthless and I think the boys respect the fact that someone can stay in the game and play a lot of games.
“You can start your career at 22-23 and then be out of the game, in non-league, and that gives me added determination stay at this level.”