Leyton Orient defender Omar Beckles is embracing his role as one of the experienced heads in the dressing room and doing his best to keep the club’s young talents “on their toes”, he has exclusively told Football League World.
The 30-year-old joined Orient on a two-year deal in the summer and has been a key player under first Kenny Jackett and now Richie Wellens.
Beckles has been a reliable influence in the heart of defence – missing just two League Two games all season – and showcased the threat he offers going forward as well by scoring six times and providing two assists.
The experienced centre-back deserves some credit for defensive colleague Shadrach Ogie’s League Two Young Player of the Year nomination while in a squad that contains a fair bit of up-and-coming talent, including the likes of Ruel Sotiriou, Harry Kyprianou, and Ethan Coleman, his leadership skills are an asset.
Speaking exclusively to FLW at the EFL Awards, Beckles discussed his responsibility in the dressing room as a seasoned campaigner.
He said: “There is a natural demand, no matter what dressing room you are in, for the older players to make sure that they’re accountable to guide the younger lads.
“I’ve naturally assumed that role, which is fine with me. Look the boys are ready to learn. They’re like sponges – they’re desperate to be coached.
“The manager has come in and he’s implemented that and they’re embracing it all.
“I guess from the behaviour side of it, I do my best to keep them on their toes but they’re a good bunch of lads and I’m sure they’re going to have a great future.”
Beckles was League Two’s nominee for the EFL Player in the Community award for his work in the local area – something that is particularly important to him as he was born in Leytonstone.
“I’m playing for a team where it really means something to me,” the defender explained.
“It’s a local club. I’ve played away and I’ve always done stuff in the community but this felt different. I felt like it all came together. I’ve enjoyed it on the pitch and I’ve enjoyed stuff off the pitch as well so it’s been positive all around, yeah.”
Millwall’s Billy Mitchell won the EFL Player in the Community award on Sunday night but Beckles is proud of the light that his nomination has shone on what he and others are doing.
He said: “It’s a good bit of recognition.
“It’s not all about awards, the work that we’re doing but to know that it has been noticed is nice and it’s a massive credit not just to myself but to the club, the trust, the people behind the scenes that made it possible, and the volunteers. It’s been good work all around.”