Throughout his Weymouth career, Josh McQuoid has revelled in the big occasions, from the early days of his first Dorchester Town derby to scoring a play-off semi-final penalty last season; so it comes as no surprise that he is thriving at National League level with the Terras.
Brian Stock took time to praise the Weymouth captain after the Terras draw at Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday evening.
McQuoid’s performance on Tuesday wasn’t a one-off, as this season the former Northern Ireland international has drawn the plaudits, but Stock says he had to single out his skipper at half-time for his first-half performance in East London.
“I thought Josh McQuoid was excellent,” said Stock. “He led by example, he brought an energy to the team. At half-time, I told the team in general that we were way below the standards, but I singled out Josh McQuoid for an exception.
“I felt his desire, work-rate, and attitude was everything we ask for from him in that position. He was taking on players, keeping possession, being creative and that’s probably the best 45 minutes I’ve seen from him this season.”
Predominantly signed as a winger in his early days with Weymouth, McQuoid has been called upon to play as a centre-forward and behind the striker in the past; but an unlikely position he has found himself in since December this season is in the heart of the Terras midfield.
He’s thrived in a free role in the centre, a position which seems to have given the 31-year-old a new lease of life and more freedom to roam.
Stock agreed that his versatility has been an asset to his side this season, “I think Josh is that player who can play in a variety of positions, I think his most natural position would be in behind the striker as a number 10. But I love his energy out wide to be able to go and press full-backs or centre-halves.
“His role both on and off the pitch has been a great example of what a captain should do. He’s led by example and he sets the standards in training.
“As a manager, you want to be able to rely on your captain, if you need any feedback on how the group might be feeling he’s done that and I think he’s been very consistent this season.”
McQuoid joined the Terras from National League side Aldershot Town in July 2018, having spent the previous season playing for Stevenage and Luton Town in League Two. The move to Weymouth surprised many at the time, but it allowed him to link-up with some former AFC Bournemouth teammates and become an integral part of an ambitious Terras side.
And since Weymouth’s dramatic rise up the leagues, he’s grasped the opportunity to play again in a league that is predominantly full-time and looks like he belongs at a level that allows him to pit his wits against the likes of Notts County and Stockport County.
Having spent the majority of his career in the Football League, Stock knew that the step from Southern League, to National League South, to National League wouldn’t phase McQuoid.
“Josh McQuoid is a very experienced player,” he added. “He’s experienced League football, so stepping up from National South to National League wouldn’t have phased him at all.
“You can tell by the way he performs that he’s not scared of anyone. When you look at some of his performances, I just think they’ve been so consistent throughout the whole of the season.
“For me, his flexibility to play in a variety of positions has helped us and when we have Josh McQuoid in the team I know that if we lose a winger, a central midfield player, a striker or even a number 10, he’s capable of filling in for either one of those positions.”
His quiet nature on the pitch didn’t make him the most obvious contender for the captaincy when he was appointed two Summers ago.
His current manager knows what it takes to be a successful captain, Stock himself captained Doncaster Rovers during their 2007/08 League One promotion campaign. McQuoid’s experience and ability to lead from example is what sets him apart according to Stock.
“He’s been a very good captain in my eyes,” continued Stock. “He’s well respected in the changing room.
“I think there are two different types of captains: some captains can be all mouth and not necessarily carry out the actions, and then there are certain captains who lead by example on the pitch and that’s by dictating the game with the ball.
“Josh has got a mix of them both and whenever there has been an issue he’s always been there to resolve that. He’s been a leading example and the lads really respect that.”
It was a frustrating stop-start beginning to life with the Terras, just as McQuoid seemed to be finding his feet back on the south coast, an injury picked up in an FA Cup tie at Banbury United ended up keeping him out for 7 months of the season. McQuoid did return to play a cameo role in Weymouth’s final few games in the Southern League that season.
Almost a year on from the injury at Banbury, it, unfortunately, looked like lightning had struck twice when he forced to limp off at Slough Town, but after a 6-week lay-off on this occasion, Weymouth fans have become accustomed to seeing McQuoid as a regular fixture in the starting eleven.
It’s something that the Weymouth medical team have managed carefully this season, as he continues to start regularly for the Terras.
“I knew Josh previously having played against him as a player. His fitness over the past few years and when I first came to the club was questioned,” admitted Stock. “Going Saturday/Tuesday would’ve been a problem for him normally.
“I think what we’ve done very well is manage him carefully, I think the medical department has done a very good job, we haven’t pushed Josh when he’s been injured.”
Many would have feared the worst when McQuoid limped off recently, but his performance at Dagenham shows that the injury is well behind him
“He injured his hamstring away at Boreham Wood and although I’d have loved for him to be back in the team, or at least be in the squad, it was a really good decision to leave him at home against Kings Lynn,” added Stock.
“It’s an injury which you can’t mess around with regardless of if you have any previous or not. I felt that his attitude to get himself fit and his desire to be back on the pitch showed in his own rehabilitation; when we tested it in training his fitness hadn’t depreciated at all.
“If we had pushed him too soon we could’ve lost him again, but hopefully that’s the end of that injury now. We need to make sure that we maintain that, we pre-hab it and keep on top of it so that we can have him for the rest of the season.”