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INTERVIEW: I've had a lot of proud moments

11 May 2015

Midfielder Kyle Dempsey on captaining his local team

In the second part of our interview with first year professional Kyle Dempsey we spoke first about the responsibility of being handed the captain's armband at such a tender age.

"That was absolutely unbelievable," he agreed. "I've had a lot of proud moments with this club over the last couple of years but that was one of the biggest. 

"Someone told me at the time that I was the youngest player ever to have done it for the club, and I thought I did a good job with it. It was nice to lead the squad on the night and it was even better when we got such a big win." 

"It's another part of the learning curve I've been on and it can only be good for me," he continued. "I got a lot of good advice from the senior players when they found out, but basically they told me to go out there and enjoy it. I definitely did that, but I think my family enjoyed it even more than I did. 

"Again, like I said at the time, I think my mam even shed a tear or two, which made me feel even more proud. 

"It was great to get the armband again for the last game of the season in front of such a big crowd. It's just a shame the second half didn't go our way, even though I thought the first half was some of the best football we'd played all season. I don't know if I'll get it again next season but it's something I would like to do if the gaffer thinks he can show that kind of faith in me."

Looking back at what was a difficult season and a tense run-in, he said: "The amount of pressure we were putting on games was huge. In some games we'd put that much pressure on ourselves to come away with three points that I think that was probably the reason why we ended up drawing and losing games we should have won. 

"It was frustrating, because we all knew we were better than the results were showing, but we also knew we couldn't keep saying that. The gaffer obviously said what he had to say after the Accrington game and we had a few meetings among ourselves as well.

"None of us were happy about how we'd played and the good thing was the response. We got the results we needed after that and I thought we played some decent football as well."

On the season from a personal point of view, he said: "I've learned a lot about myself. I saw an interview in the paper with one of our old player's who said that I'll have picked up a lot of experience this year. I think that's right. Most games have been must-win, and massive games, so for me to deal with pressure like that and come through it has been important. 

"Going from playing in the youth team, and scoring goals, to scoring goals out on the Brunton Park pitch has been amazing. The fans have backed me from the start and I really appreciate that. There was a bit of a blip when they thought I wasn't going to sign my contract, but after I signed it they couldn't have been any better with me. I think that's when my game started picking up again. 

"When the contract was getting sorted out if did affect my game, so it's nice to be going into next season knowing I can just concentrate on my football. Over the summer I'll just be working hard on getting fit so I can come back and do more of the same, and make sure I've improved the areas I need to work on." 

And on the awards he won at the end of season dinner, he said: "When I told my dad how many awards I'd won he had a joke with me, and he told me that was what I would got for learning from him! It was nice to get the awards and I'd like to thank everyone for voting for me, and things like that. 

"It means a heck of a lot and it's given me confidence about what I can do next season." 

The well earned summer break will quickly give way to a tough pre-season training programme, but the young midfielder insists he'll be ready to go when the squad gets back together in June.

"I've been really motivated since I was a kid," he explained. "I'll never settle for second place so all I'll be thinking about over the summer is coming back and being first at everything I do. 

"I usually give myself two solid weeks off, to rest my legs, and I then ease myself back into it over the weeks. The last two weeks before we come back is when I'll work really hard. I like to be at the front of all of the running and I don't think that will ever change. 

"It's all about being ready for the first game of the season. I've seen the gaffer say he wants me to get to 20 goals, and the only way to do that is to be out on the pitch as much as possible. If I could do that it would be absolutely massive for me."

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