Marcus Browne enjoyed a ‘great feeling’ as his first goal of the season earned West Ham United’s U23s an important point in Monday’s London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Hammers twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Spurs in Premier League 2 at Dagenham’s Chigwell Construction Stadium, though Terry Westley’s men were on top for much of the contest.
And Browne – skipper for the second consecutive U23 fixture – was at the heart of much of the hosts’ dangerous attacking play, testing the keeper on a number of occasions himself before keeping his cool from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining to level the scores.
Having bagged from 12 yards after Jahmal Hector-Ingram was fouled inside the penalty area, the forward recalled a memorable moment for himself.
“Yeah it was a really good feeling,” he said. “It always is to score, and even more so because it was my first of the season and I’ve been out injured for a while.
“I couldn’t dwell on it too much, though, because my goal made it 2-2 I was more focused on getting the game started again to try and push on to grab the winner.
It was a great feeling [to get my first of the season]. I'm really happy to have grabbed it and an assist as well
“We played well, created lots of chances and probably could have won the game. But looking back on the goal, I’m really happy to have grabbed it and an assist as well.
“I think we had more than enough chances to put the game to bed, but we didn’t and it allowed them to stay in the game.”
Browne has suffered with a number of injury problems this campaign – notably a back issue that kept him out until recently – but now feels as though he is beginning to approach his best.
“I’m pleased with how far I’ve come physically in the last few weeks, for sure, and I’m starting to have a positive influence on games and make a mark,” he explained.
“I still don’t feel like I’m at 100 per cent yet which, for me, means I have more to give which I see as a positive. But I’ll continue working hard trying to get back to 100 per cent.
“There’s always a bit more responsibility being captain as well, which I have been in the last two, but I feel like I’m a natural leader in the team so it’s a job I was willing to take on and confident in doing.”
Browne impressed in last week’s defeat to Sunderland, earning praise from manager Westley, and was a constant thorn in Spurs’ side on Monday, showing up in pockets of space between the midfield and defence and causing Wayne Burnett’s side problems.
And the 20-year-old believes he is best suited to the No10 role, where he gets the chance to pick up the ball and drive at defenders from deep.
“That’s my favoured position, definitely,” he concluded. “I try and make it as hard as possible for the opponents to deal with me and I try to get things going and get attacks started.
“I feel like I did that in parts of the game. For me making being different and impacting the game and being an obvious influence is key for me.
“But overall we felt hard done by coming away with a point considering the chances we had but we dust ourselves down and go again.”