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Published: 06:00, 09 August 2019
It’s been a long while since Alex Jakubiak made his one and only appearance for Watford.
That game was at the end of the 2013/14 season and he’s had to head out on numerous loans to gain first team experience.
This is his eighth loan move away from Vicarage Road and he’s out to make an impression once again. A debut goal at Doncaster wasn’t a bad start.
“I need to put that frustration into action,” he said, when asked about his lack of game time with Watford.
“I’ll do what I can, this is all I can do. I am here to play games and represent this club and I am going to do the best I can and hopefully that means I get to go back to Watford and get a chance.
“I feel like the quality of players that are there though makes it that bit harder. They are in the Premier League now, they have a lot more money, they can sign players they need and it is harder for myself and other youth players but it is still a club that develops young players, it always has been.
“I am 22, 23 at the end of the month, but I don’t feel young anymore. Since playing for Watford I have had a season in the under-23s and been out on loan, which has helped my development. I have enjoyed being at Watford and being out on loan as well, two very different experiences. All of it together is a good mix.”
He admits he’s still a bit off the pace, fitness wise, but scoring on his debut was an ideal start to life at Gillingham.
“As a striker I think you need that, it’s a weight off your shoulder,” he said.
“It helps you settle and makes it easier because I know how hard it would be to go five or six games without a goal, you start thinking there is pressure on your shoulders. That was important for myself, my confidence and mentally it did me good.
“I need to get a bit more fitness. This lot had quite a few games in pre-season and at Watford I played one 60 and half an hour on the Wednesday before I played against Southend here, on the Saturday.
“I was feeling it in the legs Saturday but I will get through it. I am not too far behind.”
Jakubiak is likely to have his family at Priestfield this weekend. His mum attends his matches regularly and family is important to the young striker.
Just before agreeing his loan deal with Gillingham, he had a tattoo of his grandfather etched on his right arm, as a tribute to the man who fled Nazi occupied Poland.
And he’ll be forever thankful for the sacrifices made by his mother as he attempted to make it as a footballer.
He said: “My mum watches me a lot, when she gets the time and isn’t working, she travels all over the place.
“When I was younger I used to get the train when playing on Sundays and she would be meeting me to make sure I got back alright. She has been very helpful.
“She was vital and gave me that extra push when I was young. You need that sometimes.
“I’d have had a hard day at school, I would be tired and just want to go home and relax but she is there saying you have to go to training at this time, you have to get this bus from here.”
Born and raised in London, he remains proud of his Polish roots which stem from his grandfather Zygmunt Jakubiak, who arrived in this country during the second world war, following the German invasion.
The young striker said: “He got captured and then escaped and then found his way to London where he met my gran, who was from Scotland. They fell in love, had my mum and she has been in London ever since.”
He got his arm tattooed with an image of his grandfather just before signing on loan at Gillingham.
“That is a treasured memory to have of him,” he said.
“I am proud of those roots. A lot of people from Poland ask me about my name.
“People look at me and say, ‘you’re not Polish!’ But I get that a lot. I am definitely proud of that though.”
But it was Scotland he chose to play football for, appearing for the under-16 and 19 sides, while also attending an under-21 training camp. But with no senior caps, as yet, he can keep his options open if he wishes.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell