Ben Reeves is determined to put a “bizarre” season behind him when Gillingham begin their League 1 campaign.
Reeves’ total of 32 appearances for Plymouth included just five starts, with Pilgrims boss Ryan Lowe claiming he didn’t suit his style despite hailing him as a “fantastic footballer”.
He did, though, start their final-day defeat at Priestfield, with an impressive performance alerting Gills boss Steve Evans.
“I’ve never really had that before,” said the former MK Dons and Charlton midfielder.
“Usually whenever I’ve gone somewhere I’ve just been chucked in straight away and got to play as many games as possible, the majority of them from the start.
“So it was a bizarre season for me.
“I didn’t really enjoy it as much, being on the bench every game.
“Really, it felt like no matter how I did or how I played, I was still going to be on the bench the next game.
“It was just one of those situations that can happen sometimes at a club.
“I got on with the manager well, got on with everyone at the club really well, trained every day and did all right when I played.
“It was just one of those things, it seemed like there was never going to be a spot for me in the team no matter what I did, which was hard to take but I never let it affect me.
“I just made sure I was ready for every game and every day training and it’s put me in good stead for this season to go into a full season with a chance to get a proper pre-season under my belt and some games going into the season.
“I’m really looking forward to it here and I’ve enjoyed it so far.”
Reeves, 29, is desperate to play but knows there are no guarantees at Gillingham - nor would he seek any from Evans.
Quite simply, it’s all about performances.
“I don’t think any footballer can ever go to a manager and say I want more game time,” said Reeves.
“If you deserve it then you’re going to get it and that’s what I need to do, just make sure I deserve it.
“I felt like I did last season but it never came and I’m here for a season hopefully where I can play more football from the start.
“I want to be involved in a team that’s pushing for something and hopefully we can do that here and I want to be a big part of that.
“I’ll work every day to make sure I am and hopefully I can chip in with some good performances and big goals.
“The most important thing is we stick together as a team. Every player wants to play a big part in that.”
Reeves, who started Gillingham’s 3-3 friendly draw at Welling at the weekend, has given himself every chance to hit the ground running.
He worked hard before reporting for pre-season and hopes his efforts will pay off.
“I did a lot in the summer, just to make sure I was fit,” he said.
“I came back in good shape, it’s just a matter of keeping that up and trying to get match fitness over the next few weeks and trying to get the sharpness.
“It might not come straight away but I’m sure it’ll be there in a couple of weeks. That’s the most important thing, that you’re there at the end of pre-season.
"It’s a really good standard. Training is intense every day, the boys are working hard, the fitness levels are really good.
"It’s just a matter of the match sharpness now, getting used to games and maybe building relationships with other players in those games. That can put us in good stead for the season.”