Dempsey keen to get going
Dempsey keen to get going

Kyle Dempsey joined Gillingham in the summer but has yet to fully establish himself in the first team due to injury.

But now the new skipper is fit and raring to go and in an exclusive interview has been talking to KSN about his stop-start beginning to his Priestfield career and his hopes for the future…

“For me it’s been pretty tough with picking the injury up early in the season,” Dempsey told us.

“It means that fans haven’t really had the chance to see what I can do. I think the last few weeks has seen me start to hit the ground running! I’m getting my fitness back, I’m trying to get my game knowledge back because when you’ve been out for that long, your pitch geography needs to be tuned back in, and I think I started to get to that stage now where I’m getting to that point.”

“It’s weird starting over with no fans as I’ve never had that in my career – it’s never happened for anyone of course! Especially moving to a new club – you want to have the fans in as you want them cheering you on.”

“Personally, you want them seeing what you can do on a week to week basis, so that in itself is very weird, but at least they can follow us on the streams. They can still see the game, but it is a lot, lot different when you’re actually in the game and in stages of the game when you think “he’s having a good game” but sometimes it might not look like it, you might not be having the game in which you feel that you are on the streams!”

“I’ve watched games on telly when I’ve thought that players are doing alright, but when they analyse it after the game, you realise all the stuff that a player’s actually done.”

“Sometimes when you’re actually in the stadium itself and it’s live, in different stages of the game and you feel like you’re on top, it can change your perspective!”

“For me now, it’s just going to be literally kick-starting my season now – I just want to keep playing as many games and as many minutes as I can and staying injury free. 2020 for me has been stop-start with constantly getting injuries – throughout my career until up until this year, I haven’t really picked anything up – I’ve just got to stay mentally strong and just keep on playing and that’s the most important thing for me – playing football.”

Steve Evans handed “new boy” Dempsey the captain’s armband at the start of the season – an award that we asked he about, and he began by explaining, “when I was eighteen years old, Keith Curle at Carlisle gave me the honour of giving me the arm-band for a couple of games when the skipper was out and I think I still hold the record there as being the youngest ever captain,” Dempsey told us proudly.

“So, for me, at this stage of my career, for the Gaffer to give me the honour of skipper is a massive privilege especially coming to a club for the first time. I think it’s brought a different side out of me which I knew was in there but I haven’t had that responsibility of leading a team out, keeping everyone focused, keeping everything professional on the job and stuff like that because I’ve always been a player who’s helped skippers out with my communication and I’ll lead by example on the pitch.”

“It’s been a completely different role for myself, but I think it’s made me realise that I’ve got a lot more qualities in leadership skills that I didn’t realise I had until this year!”

After having to sit out so much of the start of the season, the skipper admitted, “I wouldn’t say that it’s helped me because I think over the last couple of weeks of playing, I’ve started realising the qualities in the team and how this team are moving forward to get as far up the League as we can!”

“I want to be out there and I want to build relationships with players on the pitch to get an understanding and handling of how they want to play – little pockets in which they thrive – and I think over the past few games when I’ve started drifting out to the right hand side of the midfield towards Jordan (Graham) and Ryan (Jackson) and getting a little triangle which has led to a little bond – we’re starting to realise how each other play, when to run and stuff like that.”

“I think it’s becoming a strong link and as I said before, you start getting strong links with players and once you build a couple of them in the team, that’s when you start getting the best out of each other. But sitting back, I’ve been able to see how players want to play; what their qualities are; what they don’t want to be doing!” 

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.