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Dartford midfielder Jack Jebb wants more goals to improve his game

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Dartford midfielder Jack Jebb wants to hit double figures to take his game to the next level.

Dead-ball specialist Jebb scored a cracking long-range winner to send Darts into the last 16 of the FA Trophy last weekend.

Jack Jebb in the thick of the midfield battle for Dartford against Weymouth last Saturday. Picture: Barry Goodwin (54285230)
Jack Jebb in the thick of the midfield battle for Dartford against Weymouth last Saturday. Picture: Barry Goodwin (54285230)

It was his fourth goal of the season - and they’ve all come from outside the penalty area.

“My target for goals is double figures,” said 26-year-old Jebb. “I’ve just got to keep getting in and around the box to be in the right positions, and hopefully I’ll get that.

“Most of my goals this season have been screamers from outside the box so if I can get a few tap-ins, it might get my goal tally up.

“They all count the same but the crowd and myself enjoy the screamers. When I score, I like to watch them back, I just need to do it more often!

“I think goals as a midfielder, they push you on and it’s what a lot of managers want so hopefully I can keep doing it.

“It’s good that other players in the team score as well as the strikers, we can’t rely on them and it’s good for us to help the team.”

There’s no doubting the quality of Jebb’s goals either. His precise free-kick at Braintree last month earned Darts a point in stoppage time, he scored a long-range effort at home to Tonbridge and a 25-yard left-foot strike into the top corner at AFC Sudbury ultimately went unrewarded as Dartford’s FA Cup journey hit a dead end in the second half.

“The free-kick was good because obviously it was in the last minute and it got us a point,” he reflected.

“But I’d say the one in the FA Cup on my left foot that found the top corner from quite a long way out is my favourite. However, we didn’t win that game so it doesn’t mean anything.”

The quality Jebb brings to the team from set plays is no fluke either.

At the start of eight years with Premier League Arsenal, Jebb was encouraged by his father to take the set pieces - no mean feat in a side that contained the likes of Serge Gnabry, Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

It meant hours of practice on the training ground, and Jebb still puts in the hard yards now to ensure he is confident of scoring when the opportunity presents itself.

“I grew up at Arsenal and I remember my dad from young telling me to get on the free-kicks,” explained Jebb.

“I literally practised all the time and I’ve grown up doing it. I had Serge Gnabry in the same team and he’s won the Champions League - he wasn’t bad at them!

“Even at Dartford though, there are other quality free-kick takers so I know if I miss a few there will be other people waiting to take them.

Jack Jebb - spent eight years with Arsenal as a youngster. Picture: Keith Gillard
Jack Jebb - spent eight years with Arsenal as a youngster. Picture: Keith Gillard

“If you get it up and over the wall with pace then the majority of the time it goes in, that’s what I try to do. I need to start going to the other side as well to keep the goalkeepers honest.

“I’ve practised all my career really, it’s what I’ve done since I was younger. Normally when I get one round the box, I am quite confident I’m going to score because I put the work in at training.

“After training I join in with the keepers and strikers, and hopefully it keeps paying off.

“Going back a few seasons, I got a few goals and then I had a bad injury, then the last two seasons have been cancelled so it’s been hard.

“This season I’ve been told to get higher, get in the box and be in a position to score. Hopefully I can carry on doing that.”

Jebb felt there were enough signs in the first half against Weymouth last weekend that Dartford can rediscover their early-season form.

A feature of Dartford’s blistering start to the campaign was the flowing football centred on the midfield trio of Jebb, Noor Husin and Keiran Murtagh. They linked up to good effect in the FA Trophy and Jebb knows they are pivotal to the team’s success.

He added: “We’re all on the same wavelength, we know how each other plays and we like to play football. I think it’s a good balance.

“We’ve got other players on the bench and in the squad that can play there and we’re all on the same wavelength, we all like to play football.

“When we played Dulwich the week before the pitch was a nightmare as it was so wet, they are the games we’ve got to dig in and get a result as you can’t really play your football. Our pitch is quite good normally so we’re lucky to have that.

“When we play like we did in the first half against Weymouth, that’s when we’re at our best and we can kick on from that.

“The main thing this season is getting promoted. We need to take the first-half performance into the league and play how we did and try to kick on.

“Now we’ve won again, it can kick us on. We’ve got that confidence and clean sheet and hopefully we can go on a run like we did at the start of the season and be right back up there.”

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