Published: 06:00, 05 October 2021
Kieran Monlouis is ready to make up for lost time in more ways than one.
The Ebbsfleet midfielder marked his debut for the club by scoring the winner in last weekend’s FA Cup third qualifying round tie at Aylesbury United.
It was his first appearance after illness kept him out at the start of the campaign and, at 25, Monlouis knows time is running out if he’s going to make it in the full-time game.
Monlouis joined the Fleet from Isthmian Premier Horsham in the summer and lists a host of non-league sides on his CV as well as Scottish outfit Hamilton, having started off as a youth team player at Crystal Palace, Stoke and Charlton.
“That’s one of the reasons why I came here,” said Monlouis. “I had options to stay part-time but at my age where I was in limbo, I felt I might as well give it one more good go.
“I couldn’t turn down a full-time opportunity, I’m delighted to be here and we’ll see where it takes me.
“You know how football is, sometimes it goes against you and sometimes it works in your favour. I’ve taken a few gambles which haven’t paid off but ultimately I’ve always stayed level-headed.
"I know what I’m capable of and for me it’s about being consistent.
“I feel being back full-time now that my mentality is a lot different. It’s a good club to be at and I’m at an age where I need to push on now. I’m grateful I’m in the right place to do it.”
Fleet fans might well have been forgiven for not even recalling that Monlouis joined the club in the close season.
He hadn’t kicked a ball in anger until the FA Cup tie but he looked the part after coming on at half-time, giving Ebbsfleet energy and positive movement in the middle of the park.
“I’m just happy to be on the pitch again,” he said. “It’s been a long time, the best part of three months with no games, no pre-season training. I’m just happy to be out there and luckily I got on the scoresheet.
“To be honest I still can’t put my finger on what was wrong. I went to a few doctors but it was just one of those things after a while off and coming back to full-time.
“My body was just adjusting to it and wasn’t getting through the training at the start but gradually I’ve adjusted and I’m back now.
“It was a frustrating period. It was nothing muscular, it was not an injury like that, I was perfectly fine but my body was just shutting down on me. It was about being patient.
“I’d like to thank the club personally as well for being patient with me and helping me out through that time and sticking by me. I was happy to repay them with a goal to get us through to the next round.”
If Fleet fans were surprised to see Monlouis, then he was equally shocked to get on the scoresheet.
“I’m not a goalscorer to be honest - it’s not really been my game,” he claimed. “But I feel as I get older as a central midfielder that’s what makes a difference.
“I feel if I can add goals to my game then I have a good chance of pushing on again so that’s my aim, to try and get 10 goals by the end of the season.
“I want to be playing. It was good to come on and make a difference, give the gaffer a bit of a headache but that’s what I’m looking to do, get a place in the starting line-up and help the boys push on this season.”