Magnus just knew it would be U's

MAGNUS is more than just his name. It sums up his whole appearance as well!Powerhouse Magnus Okuonghae, Colchester United's most recent defensive recruit, is the sort of man you would want to have on your side.

Carl Marston

Powerhouse Magnus just

knew it would be U's

By Carl Marston

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MAGNUS is more than just his name. It sums up his whole appearance as well!

Powerhouse Magnus Okuonghae, Colchester United's most recent defensive recruit, is the sort of man you would want to have on your side.

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The ex-Dagenham & Redbridge defender made his debut in a U's shirt in Saturday's pre-season friendly at Tiptree, strolling through the second-half of a 3-2 win.

But why the name “Magnus?” It's not a typical name for an English-Nigerian footballer.

“I think that my Mum called me Magnus because it means big and strong,” revealed Okuonghae.

“She could obviously see into the future!

“I'm also a big talker. I like to try and organise and talk from the back, because as a defender you try to make it as easy as possible.

“Now I'm trying to get to know all of my new teams-mates,” explained Okuonghae, who signed a two-year deal on July 1.

Looking up the word “magnitude” in the dictionary, it means “greatness of size and extent,” and that just about sums up the U's new No. 6.

Okuonghae had turned down the offer of a new contract at Dagenham, following a successful last season that saw him play 45 of the 46 league games for the Essex club.

The 23-year-old chose to move up the A12 to the U's instead, and will be hoping to negotiate the step up from League Two to League One over the coming months.

“Moving to Colchester was a no-brainer for me. It wasn't hard to decide!” continued Okuonghae.

“As soon as I saw the new stadium (Weston Homes Community Stadium) while driving up the A12, I knew that I would sign for Colchester United.

“The manager (Paul Lambert) looked me in the eye and told me what he wanted from the team, and what he wanted from me. I could see that this was a developing club.

“The new ground was a big positive for me. It was like when I was at Rushden & Diamonds a couple of years ago. We knew that we were lucky to have such good facilities. We were spoilt.

“Obviously it wasn't the same at Dagenham & Redbridge (Victoria Road), but I was just glad to get back playing in the Football League. It wasn't so bad, and Layer Road wasn't too bad either.

“I was a substitute once at Layer Road, during my days at Rushden,” added Okuonghae.

Having played as a junior at Fulham, Okuonghae signed for Rushden & Diamonds in 2002, making 23 senior appearances for the Northamptonshire club.

He then dropped into non-league with Aldershot Town, St Albans City and Crawley Town, before rekindling his professional career with the Daggers.

Okuonghae is with the rest of the U's senior squad at a training camp in Germany this week, being put through his paces by manager Paul Lambert and the rest of the backroom staff.

But he enjoyed his debut at Tiptree over the weekend.

“It was a big game for Tiptree. It was like a cup final for them, so it was a good run-out for us,” said Okuonghae.

“We are all feeling fit, and that's what it's all about in pre-season. It always helps to string a good run of results together in pre-season, but the most important thing is to stay fit and avoid getting injured.

“I consider myself to be a centre-half. I played a few games at right-back for Dagenham last season, but my main position is centre-back, and that's where I want to play.

“I played virtually every game last season, and I want to do the same this season, although I know that there is a big competition for places at Colchester.

“I won't just become the No. 1 centre-half just like that.

“League One looked a tough league last year, but I think it will be even tougher this year.

“There are the obvious big clubs, like Leeds, Charlton and Southampton, but there are also other clubs like Huddersfield, who seem to be buying a player every week!” concluded Okuonghae.

The U's conclude their training week in Germany with a friendly fixture against local side Troisdorf FC. They then entertain Aston Villa in a pre-season game at the Community Stadium next Tuesday evening (July 21).

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