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Interviews

Jarvis | "Hopefully the youth boys can relate with my journey"

Former Gills winger Matt Jarvis returns to Priestfield to share his experiences with the academy.

9 March 2022

Matt Jarvis returns to ME7 to speak to the club's apprentices.

Former Gills and England winger Matt Jarvis returned to MEMS Priestfield Stadium a short while ago to share his experiences of developing as a player with the club’s apprentices.

Jarvis arrived at ME7 at the age of 16, having been released by Millwall, but developed quickly within the academy and made his debut for the first-team against Sunderland approximately 18 months later.

After making 122 appearances in all competitions, Jarvis signed for Wolves in the summer of 2007 before stints at West Ham, Norwich City, Walsall and Woking. Matt made one appearance for the England National Team, coming on as a second half substitute against Ghana at Wembley in March 2011.

With his playing days behind him, Matt has been doing a lot of punditry work and provides nutritional support on an ad-hoc basis for a few people. However, he was delighted to make the journey to Kent and give the club’s yongsters the benefit of his experience.

Speaking to the club website, he said: “I was invited to come back and speak to all of the scholars to go through my starting point at Gills and how my career developed and everything that goes into the daily grind of training and improving your mentality.

“Hopefully they enjoyed it and they can relate to my journey.

“I said to them that I have sat exactly what they have sat; I lived it, I’ve done it and I’ve had people telling me exactly the same things that are said to them. I was released at 16, I came to Gillingham when my confidence was low and I’ve gone through the stages of developing as a player, to train with the first-team, to play in the first-team and then get my first professional contract.

“It’s just a great club and that’s why I love coming back.”

Matt announced his retirement following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season, and he believes it was the right time to call it a day. Since when, he has been doing a lot of television work as he explained:

He added: “I miss playing, I miss the thrill, I miss the training, I miss the lads, I miss everything about it, but it was the right time to call it a day. I think I know that, so it’s made it slightly easier, but I still miss it and still want to play. It was the right time to stop.

“I’ve been fortunate to do some of the punditry stuff which has been great. If you can’t play what’s better than to talk about it?”

International duty came calling for Jarvis in 2011, and he revealed representing his country was a dream that finally came true after a lot of hard work.

He said: “That’s the pinnacle, you want to play for your country. It was an absolute dream come true and I was lucky that my appearance was at Wembley so all my friends and family could be there, loads of Gills fans messaged me saying they were there. It was a brilliant occasion for everyone, especially myself.

“I follow all the clubs that I’ve been at and played for, obviously Gills is right up there watching all of the results. I’ve messaged and tweeted about Neil [Harris] coming back, it’s a fantastic appointment and I messaged him straight away.”

Before leaving the stadium he had a final message for all Gillingham supporters.

He said: “I absolutely love them. I owe so much to Gills for giving me the opportunity to start my career, they gave me the platform and the confidence and the fans have always been tremendous. I loved being out on the pitch, getting the ball, people getting off their seats and you could feel the energy.

“That’s why I like to come back. It’s a great club, thank you to everyone that has cheered me on ever since, I get so many messages from people saying they have followed my career since Gills and it means a lot.”

 

 

A full interview with Matt can be seen on iFollow.


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