Interview with Malachi Linton

Mal, you’ve been at the club for a little while now. How have you been settling in?

I think I’ve settled in very well. What has helped is having a lot of support from the gaffer. It’s great to have a manager who’s passionate and backs his players to the hill, and, by working hard for the team, that has also helped me earn the respect of my teammates.

Joe was the last player I spoke to, and he said the dressing room is really strong. What’s it like for a new player to come in?

It’s easy to get going. Everyone has one common goal where they want to win. There’s no idiots in the dressing room. We’re all sticking to the same plan, which really helps. The dynamic has stayed the same through thick and thin.

As someone who is on the books at Y*ovil (cough), it must have been a bit daunting coming here, especially playing at the Bob Lucas as a Terra for the first time?

I hope I was received well!

This club is a very attractive place to be at this level. There’s not many places with an established stadium and a large fanbase. It’s always tough coming to any club, wherever I would have gone. Yeovil are the favourites to go up, and it’s further daunting to come to their biggest rivals, but I have to think of my career. Bobby wanted me and, by coming here, I had the opportunity to get some much-needed game time.

You’re obviously playing with a bit of confidence now, though, with three goals in a row at home. As a striker, how does it feel to be in such a rich vein of form?

People have asked me this and I find it tough to answer. The way I see it, it’s your job to score!

It’s more of a relief that I’m scoring. I’m happy that I’m doing my job. I hate not scoring a lot more than I love scoring, so I’m just relieved that I’m helping the team.

Is your form down to confidence or making changes to your game? Or both?

I always like to think that hard work pays off, so I’ve been doing as much off the pitch as I can, whether that’s work in training or watching video clips. I guess when you do all of those things properly you get the results on the pitch, but when you’re in good form the ball just seems to land at your feet at the right time, and that sort of confidence will also breed success.

How good a feeling is it to score a goal, how does it compare to other night time activities?

I genuinely could not explain the ecstasy when you see the ball hit the net. When you strike the ball, you know when it’s going in, and you’re already running off to celebrate before the ball has even crossed the line. It’s even better when you score early on, because then you’re uplifted for the rest of the game.

It’s always important to try and score as much as you can. As a striker, I never settle for just one goal.

Behind-the-scenes, what’s it like training with the lads?

It’s very good and proper. The standards in training are very high. Bobby drives the intensity in training. There are lads who don’t play every week but train really hard to try and get a place in the team.

It’s very competitive and people want to win all the time. That’s what you want. You don’t want training to be too soft.

Just about every player has said to me that Calvin is the biggest character at the club. Is this true?

I can confirm this is true. He’s like a piece of furniture at the club. When I came, I saw that a lot of people gravitated towards him. He’s a very bubbly character and, even with his injury, he’s still a lively character and really good to have around, although I’m glad I’ve not been on the receiving end of his pranks yet!

On the subject of antics, Charlie Rowan once saw a player shave off his eyebrows at an end-of-season party. Are there any crazy stories you have from your career that top that?

One bloke I played with had a lovely set of hair, Bradley Cooper-style. The lads told him to shave it off for a laugh, and he did. But, it never grew back and he became bald after that. That was probably the biggest mistake of his life. It’s all good fun, though. He suits being bald!

I’ll take you back to the start of your career. Who was your biggest inspiration for getting into football?

I’m a big Arsenal fan, so it would have been Thierry Henry, but I’m also a massive Cristiano Ronaldo fan.

With Ronaldo, you have a player who has absolute intensity and work ethic on and off the pitch. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how he’s moulded his game throughout his career.

Henry was just such a graceful player. As well as his speed and athleticism, he could carry a team. He could score a goal from anywhere. It was incredible how he could command a game. I don’t think there’s any player now who could do what he could.

You signed your first pro contract for Wycombe Wanderers. How did that come about?

I had a trial, and then they signed me on a two-year contract. It was there where I made a lot of personal developments in terms of my game. I worked on honing my skills amongst some really good players. The top performers there would do absolutely everything, whether that’s doing the right stretches or eating the right things. They’d even turn up early to do some planks!

Their consistency was incredible, day in and day out. That’s the main thing I’ve tried to do ever since.

Who is the best player you’ve ever played with?

I would say Josh Barrett, who I played with at King’s Lynn Town. He’s probably the most naturally gifted footballer I’ve ever seen. He would probably openly say that the shape he’s in isn’t great, but he could do whatever he wanted with a ball. He had everything.

Are there any players you try to emulate your game from? If so, which ones?

Absolutely. That would be Ollie Watkins. I really enjoy his game, and I think he’s absolutely phenomenal. Whenever Aston Villa are playing I will watch. The way he presses and can lead a line, he uses his body so well. He can drop deep and link the play. He can do a stepover. He can finish with both feet. I really like how there’s so much to his game. He’s the full package for a striker.

What are your overall career hopes?

I’ve always said that I just want to be known as a clinical striker, who is respected, and almost feared, at whatever level I play, but my overall goal is to get to the highest possible level that I can get to.

What are your targets for Weymouth this season?

This season it would be to push us well into the top half of the table. On a personal level, I would like a few more goals. Hopefully double figures, which can push me onto next season.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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