Published: 06:00, 27 March 2020
Football’s in lockdown but there’s no danger of Regan Charles-Cook getting away from it.
He’s one of four footballing brothers living in the same household, including older sibling Reice, back home from playing at League 2 Macclesfield.
His two younger brothers Roman and Reuben play in the youth ranks at Bromley and his dad – who he calls the Sheriff – has been keeping them all in order.
“He is the one who drags us up at seven o’clock to go and do some training,” said the midfielder, speaking before Monday night’s national lockdown.
“It is quite fun in the house but there is so much energy and excitement that after a while it is like, ‘oh my gosh!’
“We are just doing silly challenges constantly, with anything that involves a ball. Everything is basically a competition in our house.
“I am missing football and you don’t know how much you miss it until it is actually gone and what is worse is that you can’t socialise with your friends, it’s like you are stuck in a box, there is no football to play, but luckily I have my family.”
All four of the brothers had been regularly visiting the park, with Reice a handy family member to have when you want to practice your shooting.
Regan said: “It does help to have a proper goalkeeper to practice with and that helps doing shooting, you are not shooting at an empty goal, you are putting it into corners and I am trying to keep my technique up as much as my fitness.”
Brother Reice wasn’t in his good books, however, after demolishing a 3D jigsaw of Big Ben which Regan was halfway through completing.
Making puzzles and playing the Call of Duty video game have been some of the ways he’s been filling his time, in between keeping on top of the fitness workouts that Gills coach James Russell has been setting.
Regan has also been active on social media and got quite a lot of attention when taking part in the ‘loo roll keepy-uppy challenge.’
The technique was good, and he managed to volley the loo roll into the room next door, but a slight slip led to a stray arm and a shattering of glass, as he broke a chandelier!
“My mum had gone to the shops and I thought that was the best time to do it but I chose the worst room,” he said.
“Any time I try and play football in the house she says ‘if you are going to do that, do it in the garden!’
“My first try was quite successful, but a bit plain, so I thought I would add a round-the-world to it and volley it into the other room. I slipped a bit, a millisecond later my arm came forward and hit the chandelier.”
A week later and his mum still hadn’t noticed.
“I won’t say anything until she sees it,” he said.
“Whenever she goes into the living room I put on the two side lamps to make it brighter, so she doesn’t need the main light.
“When my dad finds out it will be even worse. He is the one that everyone is scared of!”
When football does eventually resume, it’s going to be a big nine games for the Gills and the players looking for new deals.
Charles-Cook is among those out of contract at the end of June.
He said: “It is a massive nine games, massive. Literally, everyone will be raring to go.
“There will be that fresh feeling where everyone has missed it, everyone will be on fire and I will be ready to get that shirt.
“It’s a small squad, but we will all be battling for a place and all showing we are ready.
“Maybe the football might be a higher standard because everyone has had that break, everyone might be fresh and it could be even more difficult!
“It is going to be big for me too, chasing a new contract and showing what I can give to the team. I have shown glimpses but I want a bigger part and I am going to fight to do that.
“The manager asks for more and even if it is internal, 11 v 11, against each other, I am going out there the same way as if I am playing a game.
“I want to score, I look to train how I play, making sure I am being effective and bringing something different to the team in terms of energy and technical side and goal scoring and creating too.
“I need to show that when he does pick me, I am 100% ready.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell