Striker Dackers scores during successful loan spell with Celtic

MARCUS Dackers’ loan spell at Stalybridge Celtic proved so successful it was cut short by Salford City.

The 18-year-old striker, who scored eight goals in 10 games, was called back by the Sky Bet League Two club midway through his second month at Bower Fold.

Dackers was recalled was ‘to be in and around the first team’ for the first time since his summer move after leaving Brighton where he had spent six years.

Salford, who had been struggling for goals, had been monitoring Dackers’ progress and decided the time was right for him to step up from academy and Under-23 football.

“It happened very quickly and shows how well it worked out that my loan was cut short. I was preparing for Celtic’s game on Saturday (at Bootle in the FA Trophy) and Salford suddenly recalled me,” he explained.

Marcus Dackers celebrates a goal

“And my next training session was a first one with Salford’s first team. The first session was short, sharp, intense and different to what I had been used to.

“It is my goal to get into the team and that was another step towards that.”

Dackers, who stands at an imposing 6ft 7in, reflected on a “very successful” spell with Celtic, explaining it played an important part in his development.

He explained: “The fact I scored two goals on my debut (in the 5-2 win against FC United) made it a great start and boosted by confidence.

“I gained a lot of confidence and learned a lot from the short time I had with Celtic.”

Dackers explained playing in the Northern Premier League was far more competitive than for Salford’s academy and U23 sides.

Marcus Dackers Photo thanks to Phillip Smith Photography

He said: “In those teams it is more about performances, but in non-league you are playing for more than that. It is all about three points.

“I remember the rush of adrenaline when I scored by first goal for Celtic. I had never had anything like that in academy matches.

“The first five minutes of my Celtic debut was a wake-up call and I had to get used to the physicality and how to use my body.”

Dackers, capped by Wales from U15 to U19s, found a kindred spirit in Celtic manager Simon Haworth, a former Premier League and full Wales international striker.

He continued: “I would go to Simon after games and asked him what I needed to do to improve and what he wanted me to do.

“There was one game when we were getting beaten and I was up against a central defender who had played a couple of hundred league games.

Marcus Dackers in action

“I asked Simon at half time how to approach him. He told me to start my runs from behind him and then win the flick-ons.

“I played against other players who had had good careers if football and it was good to play against their different styles.

“Simon helped me a lot and we also had a bond as we were able to talk about the Wales set-up.”

Dackers added he was also impressed by the quality of his team-mates.

“We had some very good players in the team, and they also helped me and they also gave me confidence,” he said.

He is also hoping his career will blossom as Dominic Calvert-Lewis’s did following a loan spell with Celtic in his teens when he was at Sheffield United.

Dackers said: “The chairman (Rob Gorski) mentioned about Calvert-Lewis and my stats were similar to his, and how he had gone on to kick start his career.

“It would be great if mine followed a similar path following my loan with Celtic.”

Dackers, who was raised in South Manchester, started playing at Manchester City’s City in the Community programme aged five after they spotted him when they visited his primary school, St Mary’s, Prestwich.

He was scouted by City’s development centre and then signed for their academy aged eight.

Dackers joined Brighton aged 12, a move influenced by him having family in the town.

But in November 2020, the second year of his scholarship, Dackers realised he would not be offered a professional contract.

He said: “I asked if Brighton would let to go out for trials so I would be ahead of the game when players were released at the end of the season.

“I had trials with Cardiff, Swansea and Wigan and some went well. At the end of the season my agent arranged for me to attend exit trials Salford were holding for players without clubs.

“There were about 30 players attending and I scored in a game against Wrexham’s first team. They narrowed down the numbers and I was offered a contract for the academy and U23s.”

Dackers, who qualified for Wales as his mother Cathy was born in Aberystwyth, added playing for Wales from U15 to U19 level has also helped his development as it is different to club football.

He has played against Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and Austria as well as smaller nations like Kosovo and Moldova.

In the U19 side as Manchester United’s Charlie Savage, son of Robbie, and Crystal Palace’s Jadan Raymond.

As somebody who is 6ft 7in, Dackers major influences have been tall strikers.

He said: “There are not many strikers who are 6ft 5in or above, so I looked at Peter Crouch, who is about my height, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“Chelsea Romelu Lukaku is my striker idol, a player I greatly admire.”

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