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Former player Craig Stone takes on the under-18 and 23 role at Gillingham

Craig Stone says he’s honoured to have been given the chance to coach Gillingham’s rising stars.

Stone is a former youth scholar himself and played 15 league games for the club between 2005 and 2008.

Gillingham returned for pre-season on Thursday and Stone found himself with a new role, having previously worked with the girls’ academy.

Craig Stone appeared on the KM Football Podcast earlier this year
Craig Stone appeared on the KM Football Podcast earlier this year

Stone tweeted on Saturday: “Absolutely honoured to be taking the first session this morning as u18/u23 manager at the Gills.

“Great to be working with a great management team and set of players.”

He added that he would be sad to leave the girls’ academy behind.

“Gutted to be moving across from Gills girls academy but I know they will be in safe hands. I will keep tabs on them and they have great foundations.”

Gillingham have yet to officially confirm Stone's new role but did tweet their congratulations, as did many others, including past and present players such as Barry Fuller and Matt Jarvis.

As a player, Stone made his Gills debut for the club as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat at Hartlepool in November 2005.

He had a loan spell with Brentford in the 2007/08 season and eventually moved to Ebbsfleet United in June 2008. He’s played for Dover Athletic and Eastbourne Borough and enjoyed plenty of promotions along the way, including with Tonbridge Angels last season.

He was played in the final as the Angels twice came from behind to win promotion to National South.

Craig Stone (left) won promotion with Tonbridge Angels last seasonPicture: David Couldridge
Craig Stone (left) won promotion with Tonbridge Angels last seasonPicture: David Couldridge

Stone left Tonbridge this summer, however, for a player-coach role at Bostik South East side Hastings United.

Upon his departure there, Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm: "He was a great servant for me, a great person and he scored a massive goal against Carshalton to get us into the play-offs that will live in the memory for a long time."

The Gills are reshuffling their backroom department following the appointment of Steve Evans as manager and last week also announced the arrival of a new goalkeeping coach, with Simon Royce rejoining the club.

Read more: The latest sports news from Kent

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