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Luke O'Neill wants to concentrate on defending at Gillingham

Luke O’Neill is looking forward to doing what he does best at Gillingham.

The former Southend United man has played in a variety of positions at other clubs but will be looking to make the right-back slot at Priestfield his own.

O’Neill said: “My main position is right-back, I have come here to be a defender. I can play on the wing and in midfield but I haven’t come here for that.

Gillingham's Luke O'Neill Picture: Andy Payton
Gillingham's Luke O'Neill Picture: Andy Payton

“The first thing the manager said was that he wouldn’t mess me about. I have come to play right-back and if we play wing-back as well, I can do that. I have definitely come here as a defender.”

At 25 he is keen to get as much football as he can, which is why he chose Gills above others.

The chance to stake a claim for the right-back position and have a full season was music to his ears, following a frustrating season at Southend.

He said: “I probably didn’t play as much as I should have. It didn’t pan out how I wanted it to.

“I did have a few offers, a few in League 2 and a couple in League 1, but once I met the manager, he sold me it.

“He said that he would play me and that is the main thing. I want to play and show what I can do. I know I can do it at this level, easy. I just need a run of games.”

O’Neill has spent several seasons with both Leicester – where he began his career – and Fulham. But apart from a full season at Mansfield, he’s had to look to the loan market to get game-time.

With a two-year deal signed at Gillingham, he now has the chance to make his mark.
He said: “Everywhere I have gone on loan I would always play.

“Last season I played 21 games, coming off the bench, and you can’t get a rhythm. I did well but he (manager Phil Brown) would then take me out, it’s one of those things.

“I just can’t wait to get started at Gillingham. I am 25 and I am not one of those players who likes to sit about and just be a part of it. I want to play every week and every game. That was a big factor in me signing.”

While the Gills had a disappointing season last time around, O’Neill – who came close to a play-off spot with Southend – believes anything in League 1 is possible.

He said: “I want to try and get promotion or around the play-offs.The club massively underachieved last season. I just want to play and do well and hopefully the team can do that as well.”

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