Published: 13:00, 08 July 2014
| Updated: 13:10, 08 July 2014
Peter Taylor believes Jake Hessenthaler can be the complete midfielder.
The 19-year-old was largely used in a defensive role last season but the Gills manager believes he has plenty to offer going forward as well.
Taylor said: “The nice thing about Jake is that people can’t say he is a holding midfielder that can pass because looking at him now, he can run forward, he can get us a goal – closer than the one he has scored – and he has a bit more about him.
“He could be an attacking midfield player as well as defensive.”
Taylor handed Hessenthaler his Gills debut at Rotherham in November and he quickly established himself as a first-team regular, finishing the season with 19 appearances.
Taylor said: “We could have a very good player. He was probably as comfortable on the ball as any other player we have got but also he is having a right go defensively as well.
“I kept saying to him, ‘be a bit like your dad (Andy Hessenthaler) without the ball and then we have got a very good player.”
Hessenthaler’s performances during the season earned him the young player-of-the-year award and his 40-yard lob against Coventry saw him claim goal of the season.
He spoke on stage during the end of season award ceremony and Taylor was impressed.
He said: “He handled the situation well. I can’t imagine there were many times he has been on a stage talking like that and I thought he did great.
“On the strength of his parents, I am not surprised he is a serious footballer who is going to do everything he can and I think he is pleased with the way he is developing. There is a lot more in the tank as well.”
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