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Akehurst | "I'm proud and honoured"

Gills left-back proud to make his debut at Hillsborough.

15 November 2021

Gills youngster delighted to be given his league debut at Sheffield Wednesday.

Gills second-year scholar Bailey Akehurst made his first professional league start in the 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, and he said he was proud to do so.

The 18-year-old has made his way through the Gillingham academy system since the under-12’s level, and he admitted that Saturday was a dream come true.

“As a young kid coming through the academy, you always dream about these things and making your debut," he said. "It’s a tough place to make it at Hillsborough, but I’m really proud and honoured. It was a good point.

“It’s my boyhood club. I’ve always wanted to play for Gillingham.”

Akehurst knew that he was in for a tough test on Saturday. Wednesday have one of the best squads in the league and are chasing an immediate return to the Championship, and for an 18-year-old making his first start, it was always going to be a daunting task.

However, he credits former academy graduate Jack Tucker in helping him ease into the game and making the experience easier to handle.

“Having Tucks at centre-half made it so much easier for me. I was worried about whether I should do something or something else, but he made my game easier for me."

Akehurst was subbed off after 70 minutes and had the opportunity to walk past the Gills supporters, who were in full voice singing his name from the back of the away end.

It was a moment that will be with him forever as he managed to live out another moment he had always dreamt of.

“That was unbelievable. Coming through the academy, you dream of stuff like that. To hear my name in a chant gave me goosebumps. I loved it.”

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