Happe continues excellent 2019 with England C debut
PUBLISHED: 10:30 20 March 2019
The O’s centre back has impressed since earning a starting role in Justin Edinburgh’s team during the month of January
Dan Happe was the latest Leyton Orient player to make his England C bow on Tuesday night when he was introduced in the second half of the 2-2 draw with Wales C at Salford City’s Moor Lane.
The O’s academy graduate was initially named on the bench, but came on with 53 on the clock with the score level at 1-1.
Happe making his international debut sees him follow in the footsteps of a several team-mates at Orient.
Marvin Ekpiteta starred for England C in their most recent game, a 1-0 win over Estonia under-23s in E10 back on October 11.
Before this, Josh Koroma and Sam Ling both represented the English non-league side in a clash with the Republic of Ireland Amateurs team on May 27.
Now Happe is the latest member of Justin Edinburgh’s squad to earn recognition while Jordan Maguire-Drew would have been involved had he not suffered a calf injury away to Aldershot Town last week.
For Happe, 20, it continues his wonderful 2019 so far with the defender taking his recent chance in the first-team.
During the first half of the campaign, the centre back had to bid his time and only made four appearances before the start of January.
He came off the bench in the National League wins over Boreham Wood and Bromley and also started cup games with Maidstone United and Beaconsfield Town.
Although his minutes were limited, boss Edinburgh always made a point of praising the youngsters after his outings.
Following the 4-0 win over Beaconsfield in the FA Trophy on December 15, O’s head coach said: “Dan is class, absolutely class and the only thing stopping Dan Happe from playing is the form of Josh Coulson and Marvin Ekpiteta.”
As is so often the case, the left-footer got his chance when injury struck to Coulson first and then Ekpiteta in the space of a week in January.
Losing two first-choice defenders would rock most clubs and Orient’s form dipped at the beginning of this period, but Happe was a constant top performer.
His outstanding displays, despite his tender age, earned him the O’s Player of the Month for both January and February.
So impressive has Happe’s form been he is now a permanent fixture in the starting XI in spite of Coulson and Ekpiteta returning.
Jamie Turley is another excellent defender at the club, but in recent games when players have missed out, it has been the more experienced men having to take turns on the bench, not the composed 20-year-old.
Under the radar, Happe has now started Orient’s last 11 matches and made his 50th club appearance during the month.
Considering he only turned 20 at the end of September, that is quite an achievement, but this is not a surprise at all to those who work closely with him.
It was always a matter of time for Happe, similar to Ekpiteta’s rise, and now he has got an opportunity, he is not about to waste it.
While people like Macauley Bonne, Koroma and Jobi McAnuff will most probably take the headlines over the coming weeks, keep an eye on O’s number 15.
Happe will continue to be calm and assured beyond his years at the back and if he carries on learning like he is under Edinburgh and co, sky is the limit for the Orient youngster.