Bennetts Hoping for Second Portman Road Appearance When Blues Host Accrington
Friday, 16th Oct 2020 12:43
Town new boy Keanan Bennetts is in line for his home debut tomorrow but if he features against Accrington Stanley it won’t be his first experience of playing at Portman Road.
The 21-year-old winger, who is on a season-long loan from German club Borussia Mönchengladbach, made his senior bow for the Blues as a 69th minute substitute in last week’s impressive 4-1 win at Blackpool that saw boss Paul Lambert, the newly-crowned League One manager of the month for September, lead his team back to the top of the table.
Bennetts, who moved to the Bundesliga club from Tottenham in a £2 million deal two years ago, remembers playing at Portman Road in 2014 for a Spurs U15s side which beat a Town team that included Andre Dozzell, Luke Woolfenden, Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam 4-2.
He recalled: “It was a few years ago but I remember it well and it was actually brought up in a group chat with the lads I was at Tottenham with and who I’m still friendly with.
“I was very young at the time but it stands out as a good memory because we didn’t have much experience at the time of playing in such a big stadium.”
Edgware-born Bennetts actually played his first international football at U15 level for Germany, where his mother was born, and won two caps before going on to gain England U16, U17 and U19 recognition, which is where he first teamed up with midfielder Dozzell.
He added: “I played alongside Andre a few times and he actually got the assist for my second England goal. He’s a great player and I enjoy being with him, both on and off the pitch. He’s fun to be around and I think it’s important to build connections like that early doors.
“If you’re friends off the pitch it means you’re going to be as comfortable as possible when you’re on it. Andre and a lot of the other boys have been really good with me so hopefully we can build on that when we’re together on the pitch.”
Town academy director Bryan Klug was in a similar role at Tottenham when he worked with Bennetts, who remembered: “I was pretty young back then but Bryan was always very good to me. Having a few familiar faces made it more enticing and made the transition that bit easier than it might have been.
“They were all factors in helping me to decide this was the best place for me and I certainly don’t have any regrets. I’m grateful for Bryan’s part in the move.”
Bennetts, who also played and scored in Gerard Nash’s U23 side when they beat Colchester 2-0 on Monday, was delighted to play a part in Town’s convincing win at Bloomfield Road. “It was very enjoyable and I was very, very happy with the result,” he said.
“It was important to get a few minutes and I was just happy to make my debut in a win on the road.
“The U23 game was also important after all the travelling I had done between England and Germany, plus I had a disjointed pre-season. I needed the 45 minutes to help build up my fitness.
“I was happy to get the goal and put in a good performance, which took me another step along the way to full fitness.
“It was a big step forward for me and I now feel good and ready for more. We train at a good intensity and whenever I get the chance to start a game I’ll leave it all out there, so we’ll see how long I last.”
Asked if he felt confident about scoring goals in League One, he replied: “Yes, I see that as part of the job description. It will be important to chip in with goals and assists when I do play.
“I believe in myself and my ability, and it will be important for the team to get goals from everywhere this season if we are going to progress.”
Bennetts gave supporters a taste of what to expect when he added: “I see myself as a winger and I feel comfortable on either side of the pitch.
“Growing up in this country there were plenty of players who inspired me. I like to take people on, dominate in one-v-one situations, be dynamic and use my pace to come in off the wing or go outside and put nice crosses in.
“I like to be involved and try to get the fans off their seats. Above all, I like to score goals and create chances for others.
“That’s what I aspire to in every game, to make the difference and be a positive player on the pitch.”
With Town embarking tomorrow on a hectic programme of eight games in the space of 25 days, there could be opportunities for Bennetts to show what he can do at first-team level, although the team remains unbeaten in the league and the players currently in possession of places in Lambert’s starting line-up are eager to hold on to them.
Bennetts continued: “The manager has talked about players having the shirt and how it’s their job to keep it, which is exactly how it should be.
“It’s a healthy environment for any club to have when all the players are challenging for places and when you are one of the players not in the side you just have to wait for your time to come.
“There are a lot of games coming up and you just have to be sure you are ready to play to the same standard as the boys have been playing so far this season.
“They have set a high standard but if you have genuine aspirations to claim a place in the side you have to at least match that standard.”
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