AFC Totton AFC Totton Pitching In - Partners with Southern Football League

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AFC TOTTON MANAGER Jimmy Ball has made his first move in the summer transfer market by signing Northern Ireland U21 international Marcus Daws from Dorchester Town.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder was in the Southampton Academy before joining AFC Bournemouth’s U18s in July 2020. He spent the second half of the 2021/22 season in the Southern League Premier Division South while on loan at Poole Town.

Usually a right winger, Marcus Daws can also play on the left or in the more central role as a No.10. He graduated to Bournemouth’s U21s in the summer of 2022, and made his Northern Ireland U21 debut as a substitute in a 1-1 UEFA European U21 Championship Qualifying draw against Lithuania at the Alytus Stadium in Alytus, Lithuania in July 2022, having four months earlier been an unused sub in a heavy home defeat to Spain.

Daws had done well enough during his first loan stint at the Tatnam Ground to earn a return invitation in time for the whole 2022/23 season. He ended the campaign with 41 appearances and six goals to his name, as well as a Dorset Senior Cup winner’s medal, having played his part in the 4-0 victory over Weymouth in the Final.

The Cherries released Daws in the summer of 2023. He signed for Luton Town in September, but after just four months with The Hatters, he was reunited with his former Poole Town boss Tom Killick by agreeing to a permanent deal with Dorchester Town.

Daws hit the ground running by scoring a goal on his Magpies debut in a 2-0 away win at Harrow Borough on Saturday 13 January, adding another in the away win a Tiverton Town in April. He also played for Dorchester in their 0-4 home defeat to AFC Totton on the final day of the regular season. Showing confidence on the ball and the skill required to escape his marker, Daws went close to scoring from distance on at least two occasions, and he might have done better with a back-post header from a right-wing cross, having timed his jump well but steering his effort over the crossbar.

“Marcus is a very exciting young talent in the local area, who already has two season’s worth of experience in the league with Poole Town and Dorchester. He played a lot of football in the Poole Town team that reached the Play-Offs in 2022/23, so he understands this league.

“Luton Town and a good look at him, and I know that other clubs were interested in him, as well. He has a tremendous attitude and a desire to better himself, and I believe we can help him to find his way back into the professional game.

“His experience of international football will be valuable to us, bringing that experience of the game at a different level. He’s an exciting, attacking player who can play on the right, on the left or through the middle, which brings a welcome versatility to my team. He’s hungry to play and succeed, and to take himself back into professional football, and I’m delighted that he’s chosen to come to us to achieve that. It’s great to have young players like Marcus look at our club as a pathway back to the professional game – it shows that we are moving in the right direction as a football club.”

By Ben Rochey-Adams

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