Daily Record


Killie ace Dennis on how goalkeepin­g heroes Hart and Butand have helped him with his...


WILL DENNIS reckons education and backing from England stars Joe Hart and Jack Butland have helped lift his levels at Kilmarnock.

The Rugby Park keeper has been a stand-out for Derek McInnes’ side during his season-long loan from Bournemout­h.

Dennis has a strong work ethic and spends time away from training and matches studying peers such as Hart and Butland and the rest of the top-flight No.1s.

The Old Firm’s English internatio­nal pair have also offered positive words to the 23-year-old after matches between their respective sides Celtic and Rangers this term.

Dennis says it all feeds into the learning curve as he aims to keep up the standards for the run-in with Killie. He explained: “When I was younger, Joe Hart was the England goalie when I was growing up, so everyone wanted to be Joe Hart.

“But learning from him, Jack Butland and, to be honest, every goalie in the league.

“Goalies have a good relationsh­ip. You hear about the GK union and stuff, but it’s natural. We are all in such an isolated position on the pitch, good or bad, it always stands out no matter what you do.

“You are in a different kit from everyone else. So, if you are going up the other end when a match is finished just to recognise the other goalies, what he’s done and just even put an arm around them sometimes depending on what it is.

“It means a lot, especially for me when I’ve had it from the two English goalies up here, the top two.

“I learned a lot and it’s like: OK, they do respect you and they have time for you. It helps as a confidence boost, definitely,

“When you watch the highlights, you learn from each one. From each person’s game. You almost build a training session from watching games.

“I’ll always watch the other games and good or bad from ourselves, too.

“I like looking at my feedback from games and see what I can do better. Even if it’s been a quiet game, I try and nitpick little bits because I feel that will get you as far as you can in the game.”

Dennis has performed admirably since his switch to Ayrshire and he’s also taking plenty from the valuable experience­s.

The keeper is set to return to the Cherries at the end of the season, but asked what he’d take with him from the Rugby Park, he said: “Just as much experience as I can, and as possible.

“There’s a couple of months left, but we still have a lot to give and achieve and if I can take that back with me it would be great.

“You don’t think you are just going to come up here and set the world alight straight away, especially if you don’t know the game up here as much as I do now.

“But I’m definitely taking back a lot more on and off the pitch and there’s a lot more to learn. There always is.

“On and off the field, the way you look after yourself after games, I’ve had to learn that a lot better.

“I hadn’t really played a lot of games, so with the amount of games there are in a season here and being involved, I had to learn how to recover quicker.

“You want to play and not just train. Luckily, I have kept my place for as long as I have done.”

The final push is now on for Killie with eight games to go as they bid to seal a top-six spot and then fight for Europe.

Dennis said: “That’s the main target now. I’m sure if we do that, next year will be an even bigger target and keep pushing the boundaries.

“Obviously, there’s one big push after this break, but for me and I’m sure the other lads will say the same, after our last result [win over St Mirren], you want to keep going and build on it because the confidence you get from that, you can’t ask for anymore going into the last set of games.”

 ?? ?? WoRK eTHic Killie’s Dennis is a willing learner
WoRK eTHic Killie’s Dennis is a willing learner
 ?? ?? STUDY GROUP Hart & Butland
STUDY GROUP Hart & Butland
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