Coyle | "I'm learning a lot"

On-loan Arsenal forward reflects on playing against his parent club for the first time.

On-loan Gunner Trae Coyle put in an eye-catching performance against parent club Arsenal and even capped his impressive display with a clinical volleyed goal. In fact, the 19-year-old striker had the ball in the net three times against their under-21s as he shone for the Gills on Tuesday night.

Coyle, whose strike brought the teams level, was unlucky to see a second finish ruled out for a debatable offside before stepping up to coolly fire the Gills ahead with the first penalty of the shootout, after the game finished 1-1. Despite eventually losing on spot kicks, the Gills did enough to qualify for the next round of the EFL Papa John’s Trophy.

Coyle said after the game: “I wanted to go out there and put in a good account of myself and let whoever was watching see. I just want to play games, get minutes and impress the gaffer here.

“I am my own harshest critic, so I would never come out and say that I have been amazing. I always want to do better, but I am happy with the way it’s gone personally. I want to keep affecting games when I play; scoring goals, getting assists and working hard. I am sure that this experience will do me good in the long run. I want to help the team out and play as many games as I can.”

The Arsenal loanee, who ghosted in at the back post to neatly finish Alex MacDonald’s cleverly floated pass, kept his celebrations muted against his parent club and he was also quick to praise the assist.

He said: “It was all Macca! It was a great pass from him, he does that in training. He said it was an early Christmas present for me. It was good to score but it was all him. With that pass I couldn’t miss. It was a good evening and a good goal.

“Both teams had chances, so the draw was fair. It was good to see some of my friends and some familiar faces. I played with some of them since I was really young. I’ve know most of them throughout my career. They are all good kids and they are doing well right now. It’s still a game I wanted to win and I know they wanted to win as well. I spoke to them after which was good.”

The step up from youth football is a challenge for any young striker, but Trae is clearly relishing the experience and his goal against Arsenal was his third in a Gills shirt as he makes his way in the men’s game.

He said: “The obvious difference from youth football is the physicality. Playing against men week in, week out is completely different to playing against kids. The regularity of the games being Saturday and then Tuesday is not common in youth team football.  And playing for those three points, that’s the aim. The points are more important than the performance, which is different to academy football as well. I’m learning a lot and I’m enjoying it.”

With the postponement of this weekend’s league fixture with Lincoln, due to the call up of international players, Trae and his teammates will enjoy a well-earned rest, but the youngster will remain ready for his next chance.

He said: “Players will take this break in different ways. Some players, their bodies might be breaking down now so it would be a good time for a break. For me personally, I think that for the last two or three games I have felt quite good, so it’s not a great time but I’ll take it and let my body recharge and go again against Charlton.”