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Gillingham assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler backs son Jake Hessenthaler to make further progress next season

By Luke Cawdell
Jake Hessenthaler, watched by father Andy and manager Peter Taylor, signs a new Gills contract. Picture: Andy Payton

Gillingham’s new assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler doesn’t believe his arrival will hinder son Jake’s progress at the club.

Hessenthaler senior watched from afar last season as Jake broke into the first team and blossomed under the management of Peter Taylor.

“He’s such a level-headed kid and I am not going to get in his way,” said former Gills manager and father, Andy.

“As far as I am concerned, on the training ground I am his assistant manager and at home I’m his dad, that’s how it works. He knows how it works and he is excited that I am coming back as Peter’s assistant.

“He knows my philosophy. We want to try and play football and, for me, Jake is a footballer. He needs to get on the ball and he has calmness about him, far better than I ever had.

“I just used to go around kicking people, as everyone knows, so I assume he gets that calmness from his mother!”

Jake Hessenthaler won young player-of-the-year and best goal trophies last season. Pictures: Andy Payton

Jake Hessenthaler, 20, ended the season with 19 appearances under his belt, as well as the young player-of-the-year and the goal of the season trophies.

“I am delighted for him and he has done it off his own back,” said his father.

“He is hungry to get back and I’ve had to tell him to calm down a bit because he needs a rest. He has been in the gym pretty-much every other day, doing lots of strengthening work.

“It’s a big year for him next year. He has set a good standard and he knows what he has to do but I don’t have to tell him.

“He has a bright future, if he keeps his feet on the ground and keeps grafting, because that’s what I did and he has the potential to go onto big things for Gillingham FC.”

Read the full story in Monday's Medway Messenger

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