Jack earns deal with Gills

YOUNG DE­FENDER TAR­GETS REG­U­LAR FIRST TEAM SPOT AFTER BE­ING GIVEN PRO­FES­SIONAL CON­TRACT

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Football - By Josh Ford­ham

A Whit­stable teenager’s hard work on the foot­ball pitch has been re­warded after he was handed a pro­fes­sional con­tract with Gilling­ham.

Jack Tucker has been with the club since he was seven and last week signed a two-year deal with the Gills.

The 18-year-old de­fender was proud of his achieve­ment ad­mit­ting that when he first started at Pri­est­field he did not think it would hap­pen.

He said: “I have been work­ing to­wards this for a long time. I did not think I would make it this far when I first joined the club aged seven.

“I will just keep work­ing to build on this. All my fam­ily have been so proud and send­ing me nice mes­sages.

“When I started my schol­ar­ship that was the first time I thought I might get this far.

“I have been push­ing on for the last two years and have played a few games for the first team, in­clud­ing pre-sea­son friendlies.”

He made his com­pet­i­tive de­but for the club in their tele­vised League 1 match against Portsmouth in Oc­to­ber when he came off the bench.

Tucker still lives in Whit­stable go­ing to school in the town be­fore at­tend­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth’s in Faver­sham.

Gilling­ham have sent him out to Bostik South side Green­wich Bor­ough for a month to gain some ex­pe­ri­ence. He was due to be in their squad for their match on Satur­day but the weather meant it was called off.

He said: “It will be good at Green­wich Bor­ough. The next step is to get some ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I need to know how to play against adults as I haven’t played much men’s foot­ball. I’m hop­ing to play as many games as I can and hope­fully I can pro­vide some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent.”

Tucker is tar­get­ing a place in the Gills’ first team but he is not get­ting car­ried away with any­thing.

He is hop­ing to get his head down and work hard to try and im­press man­ager Steve Lovell.

He added: “I will keep my match fit­ness up and work­ing hard. I’m not try­ing to look too far ahead and get car­ried away. It is a great feel­ing play­ing for the first team and rep­re­sent­ing the club.

“Step­ping out onto Pri­est­field with sev­eral thou­sand fans cheer­ing you on makes you want to do it more and more.”

Pic­ture: Kent Pro Im­ages

Jack Tucker, front cen­tre, with fel­low new pros Ryan Huckle, and Henry Woods, with man­ager Steve Lovell, chair­man Paul Scally, coach Mark Pat­ter­son and school­boy de­vel­op­ment man­ager Bryan Bull

Pic­ture: Andy Jones FM4951867

Jack Tucker

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