Neil Critchley says Marvin Ekpiteta is the type of player Blackpool would love to build their team around.
The centre-back has arguably been Blackpool’s standout performer this season, having produced a number of commanding and eye-catching displays.
The 25-year-old, who was playing in non-league two years ago, has made 21 appearances in total this season and has rarely, if ever, put a foot wrong.
Ekpiteta has even managed to take his performances to another level in recent weeks, having taken the captain’s armband in Chris Maxwell’s absence.
Marvin Ekpiteta has been Blackpool’s standout performer this season
The defender has earned the praise of his boss, who only has good things to say about his stand-in skipper.
“I think Marvin has been outstanding this season. His consistency has been fantastic,” Critchley told The Gazette.
“He’s just so reliable and dependable. He’s a great guy to have around, a superb character, and I’m absolutely delighted with the way he’s been playing.
“I think the armband has just maybe brought out another two or three per cent more in his game in terms of leadership, communicating that little bit more.
“Marvin has been top, top drawer so far this season.”
The only concern for Blackpool is that Ekpiteta’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
Although the club does hold the option to extend his deal by 12 months – an option they will inevitably take up – the Seasiders will also be desperate to tie him down for the long-term, as they already have done with the likes of Maxwell, Kenny Dougall and Jerry Yates.
When asked by The Gazette if a new contract has been tabled to Ekpiteta, Critchley hinted it was something the club was currently looking at.
“There are certain players we look at and speak to and Marvin comes into that category,” Critchley added.
“It’s not always straightforward and it’s not always easy.
“Sometimes it can take longer than you’d hope or expect, but Marvin has been brilliant for us.
“In the two seasons he’s been with us, he’s been outstanding.
“Every time he steps up a level, he finds a way of coping and thriving and he’s doing that at the moment.
“Obviously Marvin being captain shows you what I think of him and we as a club think of him. The supporters obviously rate him very highly too.
“Marvin is the type of person you want to base your team around for the future.”