This is the second instalment of a Q&A with players in which we find out a little more about their background and personality, their standout experiences in the game, plus who’s been responsible for livening up matters along the way.
Over the past couple of years, Marcus Dinanga has been one of the most productive and promising prospects to figure in non-league. The youngster scored 34 for Matlock Town (24 in the Evo-Stik Premier) in 2016/17, following it up with 25 for AFC Telford United (17 in the National League North) last season. It led to his parent club Burton Albion taking up the one-year option on his contract last summer, though the 21-year-old’s season-long loan at Hartlepool United was cut short recently after a goalless stint in which he only got to start four games.
The Brewers academy graduate left Burton on a permanent deal this time around, linking up with Telford on an 18-month contract on 4th January, as he bids to help fire Gavin Cowan’s Bucks into the Vanarama National League.
The club were delighted at the capture, and with Marcus back at a place he described last year as ‘like a big family,’ we learned some new details about a man with a seemingly very bright future in the game…
Favourite team and player growing up
Chelsea and Didier Drogba.
Favourite game you’ve played in and why
(Telford versus) FC United in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup (October 2017). I scored two (in a 3-1 win); went to the first round of the FA Cup for the first time.
A teammate/coach who taught you something new or made you see the game in a different way, or gave great advice you’ve always remembered
I think Mike Whitlow, Burton coach. He turned me into a striker.
Funniest teammate/coach/manager in your career so far (or give more than one example)
Anthony Dwyer (former Telford forward now with Barwell, on loan from Leamington). (Anonymous teammate chimes in: “Not stupidest – funniest!”). Yeah, he was just a clown!
Hardest moment/experience as a player
Probably Gillingham in the first round of the FA Cup (Gillingham won 4-3 at Hartlepool’s Victoria Park after extra-time in the replay in November 2018).
What is a typical week like for you, in terms of routine?
Monday, we’ve got training in a morning, then gym in the afternoon. Tuesday is training at night, but I train in the morning anyway. Wednesday is a day off. Thursday, I train in the morning and then it’s training at night. Friday, gym, and Saturday, game.
Any change you think could be made to the game at this level
The travel. The travel’s too long.
Anything people might not know about you (interesting fact, hidden talent etc.)
I can play the piano.
Any myths/misconceptions, or a rumour you’ve heard about yourself in your career that wasn’t true
I was gonna go on loan to Wycombe, apparently. It was when I was at Burton but it obviously never happened.
Who’s the life and soul of the dressing room here at the club? Or the last time you were here.
The big characters…(thinking). We had (former Telford goalkeeper) Jas (Singh), Jas was one. Amari (Morgan-Smith), you could say Amari. Shane (Sutton). Ellis (Deeney) as well.
Finally, what have you enjoyed most about being at the club so far and why should people come down and support?
(Amari Morgan-Smith shouts up: “Seeing me again!”) Yeah, seeing Amari again! I think we’re playing really good football this year, plus the position that we’re in (is why people should come down to the games).