Alfie Jones is looking forward to the rough and tumble of League 1 football after joining on loan from Southampton.
A 15-game loan spell at St Mirren last season in the Scottish Premiership was Jones’ first taste of what competitive league football is about.
The 21-year-old is now hoping to build on that experience at Gillingham.
He said: “It’s the men’s game now, a lot more physical and that’s the step I need.
“I need to improve on all aspects and try to get as many games as I can under my belt.
“It was under-23s football at Southampton but coming here it’s more physical. I had that loan spell in Scotland, which was good and it opened my eyes to the real world of football and how brutal it is. I am looking to put my foot into English league football now.
“I know there are a lot of good teams in this league and it is high paced. I am looking forward to getting going.
“At my age now, game-time is important, getting that experience is important and I am looking to take that next step on.”
A second-half appearance against Millwall will have helped in his preparations for League 1 football.
The visitors on Sunday were direct, with two big men upfront.
“It was a battle, which was good,” said the Southampton youngster. “It was a good learning curve for me and I can take a lot from the game.
“Charlton were a different test and a bit less physical, they like to play and we got at them. Millwall was a physical test and I think we dealt with it well at times.
“These games are coming thick and fast and as players that’s what you want, you want a lot of game-time as it gets you ready for the season.”
Like many of the Gills players, Jones is bigging up the team’s chances this season.
“We are pushing towards the play-offs and even higher if possible,” he said.
“We are setting high targets so we can work towards them. I feel we have a good bunch. With the gaffer and the club and the coaching staff, they only have good aspirations for the future. It was a no-brainer to come here.
“I wanted to be part of that and settle in here.”