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First team

Kilkenny - The hard work keeps coming

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Midfielder Gavin Kilkenny has praised the “positive atmosphere” in the Cherries camp that has allowed the young players to excel around the first-team squad this season.

Kilkenny was one of four academy graduates to start in the Emirates FA Cup victory over Oldham Athletic, with many supporters full of praise for the young Irishman’s performance.

The academy has played a huge part in the club’s success during the current campaign, with several graduates now starting or in the squad on a regular basis.

And the positive feeling among the youngsters has been partly down to a real sense of camaraderie, according to Kilkenny.

“All the young lads have done really well this season,” he said.

“You look at what JZ (Jordan Zemrua) and Nnamdi (Ofoborh) did earlier in the season in the Carabao Cup games, they did really well.

“Jaidon (Anthony) has also done well in the league games he’s come on in, he got an assist against Preston and has caught the eye.

“With the lads doing well, there are no egos and we’re all really supporting each other.

“We’re all best mates and it’s so good to see that we’re all going well so far, but the hard work keeps coming and we all know that.

“It’s also been really nice to watch the first team do well in the league, there’s a really positive atmosphere in the camp. Everyone feels welcome and it’s a great camp to not only train in but to learn in as well.

“Everyone gets on, it’s a good place to be.”

The Republic of Ireland under-21 international made his first start of the campaign against the Latics at Vitality Stadium, having made his league debut in 2020 off the bench against Barnsley at Oakwell.

A versatile midfielder, Kilkenny played in the deep playmaker position that Lewis Cook has excelled in this campaign.

And after a solid display, he’s keen to keep improving and take on what the coaches have said after a good experience against the League Two side.

He continued: “I found out in the meeting before the game I was playing, and that’s probably a good thing to keep everyone on their toes.

“I was so excited; I was buzzing to get out there. I’ve been patient and been watching from the bench so I was really eager to get out there.

“I haven’t really played since the start of last season, I made my league debut a few weeks ago but this was a different opportunity for me to have a meaningful impact and show what I can do.

“It’s tough with a little amount of football under your belt, but you just trust that all the work you’ve put in over the last 18 months or so comes to the fore.

“I enjoyed the game and also enjoyed playing a little deeper as you get on the ball more and can dictate the game and get things going for the team.

“Looking at me and my size, it’s not something you’d probably expect by looking at me! But Lewis is a similar size and he’s done so well in that role this season, I don’t mind that role or higher, I just want to try and make an impact.

“There were a few little tactical bits the coaches said to me that I need to work on, but it was a really good afternoon for me and I’m looking forward to working on the bits I need to work on.”

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