Published: 22:00, 07 September 2021
| Updated: 11:21, 08 September 2021
Robbie McKenzie has shown he can play anywhere for the Gills and proved he’s not a bad finisher too on Tuesday night.
Assistant boss Paul Raynor praised the player for his versatility - an invaluable quality - after he struck a 93rd minute winner against Colchester United in the EFL Trophy.
Raynor commented: “Before the game he did say to me, ‘I have not played upfront yet!’
“When we brought him in, he had played centre-back and in midfield for Hull, right-back, everywhere in the Championship and we knew 100% when he came in the door with that versatility would be vital for us.
“We are delighted for him, he is a great lad, he works so hard and whether he has played left-back, left wing-back, right-back, no.10, he just does what you ask him to do and he does it with a smile on his face. Guys like that are absolutely invaluable to us.”
McKenzie started out as a centre-back on Tuesday, one of three chosen in a back five. A change at the break led to him playing right-back for the second half.
Gillingham’s second half performance at Colchester was in stark contrast to their first.
Raynor said: “Our decision making was poor first half, we were slow with our passing, we let Colchester take control and they had far too much possession.
“They are a good side but we probably made them look better than they were but second half we took control, we changed the shape and we were much more of an attacking threat and it was more like a Gillingham performance.
“The second half was full of energy, our strikers got a lot more service, we got a lot higher up the pitch and there was only one team who was going to win in the end, we deserved to win, especially after the second half performance.
“We will take confidence from the win into Burton (on Saturday) and take if from there.”
Gillingham are in a first round group alongside Colchester, West Ham under-21s and Ipswich Town. Ipswich face the Hammers next Tuesday.
Steve Evans' side play their second group game against Ipswich on Tuesday, October 5 and then West Ham at Priestfield on Tuesday, October 26. The top two teams in the group qualify for the knockout stages.
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