While many footballers dream of scoring a matchwinning goal in a cup final, Herve Pepe-Ngoma has very different ambitions.
Strikers may keep records of the amount of times they’ve wheeled off in celebration after finding the back of the net, but Boston United’s German-born holding midfielder relishes spoiling the party for others, taking his greatest pleasure from breaking down the opposition’s play.
“It’s just my main aim when I’m in centre mid, to win the ball back and give it to someone who can play, that’s the way I think about it,” Pepe-Ngoma admitted.
The 20-year-old moved to England aged eight.
And despite maintaining his treasured German passport, the Pilgrims’ new arrival soon settled into life at Leicester City’s academy, joining at nine years of age and working his way through the youth ranks before being released in June last year.
Although he ended last season with Kettering Town, Pepe-Ngoma was delighted when the Foxes stunned the Premier League by winning the title. From that success, Pepe-Ngoma not only discovered a new footballing philosophy, he also cheered as his role mode, fellow ball-winner N’Golo Kante, lifted the trophy.
“When I’m playing I like to play like Kante,” he added.
“After a game I like to think how many times I won the ball back.
“I try to improve game by game by just winning the balls back.”
And what can Pepe-Ngoma take from that Leicester title success?
“I was happy for them, obviously,” he added.
“They’ve shown that underdogs can win the league.
“It’s given the impression for other teams, even if you’re not the best in the league, you can win.
“If we’re not the best team in the league then, as long as we work hard, we can still win the league.
“Never give up, that’s the attitude to work with.”
Although Pepe-Ngoma is just as happy in the heart of defence as he is in central midfield, Pilgrims boss Dennis Greene has made it clear he sees his new acquisition performing best in the middle of the pitch.
His ability to play as a ball-winning midfielder or as a centre back would suggest he is the perfect replacement for club captain Scott Garner, another Leicester youth academy product, who joined Halifax Town this summer.
Greene said: “He can play in the same positions as Garns, but I think he’s got a lot more discipline.
“Garns did well for us in midfield, but with Herve we’ve got a specialist who loves to break down play.”