Kayden Jackson on a ‘mad summer’, getting into pro football via Facebook and honing his electric pace
- Credit: Archant
Kayden Jackson is Ipswich Town’s new No.9 after completing a £1.6m deadline day move Accrington Stanley last week. The 24-year-old speaks about his journey to this point, electric pace and hunger to succeed in the Championship.
ON HIS UNUSUAL ROUTE INTO PRO FOOTBALL
I’d just come out of college in Leeds, through the summer I’d done a fitness training course and I was looking for a job.
I’d been playing county football in Yorkshire and went on trial at Leeds and Blackbur but nothing came of them.
That’s when I saw that competition (‘Win A Pro Contract’) on Facebook and, just by chance, I entered. It was run through Samsung and it led to me signing my first professional at Swindon under (Paolo) Di Canio.
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It was a crazy time going from North East Counties football in Bradford, playing for 40-50 pounds a week if I was lucky, to that. I’ll always look back and be proud of the route I’ve taken.
ON PLAYING UNDER PAUL HURST DURING A LOAN SPELL AT GRIMSBY
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I’ve always had a good relationship with him and Doigy (assistant Chris Dooig) and I’ve kept in contact with Doigy quite a bit.
Grimsby was my first taste of the Football League. Then, off the back of that, I got the move to Accrington and kicked on. Now I’m looking forward to showing what I can do here.
As the weeks go on the sharpness will come and I’m hoping to show a lot more. I think I’ve improved quickly every time I’ve stepped up and hopefully I can do the same here. I think there is a lot more to come from me as a player.
ON FAILING TO MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH AT SWINDON AND BARNSLEY
They were both massive learning curves.
When I went to Swindon I didn’t expect to play, but it was nice to be training day-in, day-out. I felt I did fairly well there and had a couple of good loan spells (at Swindon Supermarine and Oxford City).
Barnsley was probably the most frustrating one because I felt I’d done well to earn the move after finishing the season strongly at Wrexham. There was a fair bit of interest, but I chose Barnsley because that’s where I deemed where I would get a fair opportunity.
It never came about in the end, but everything happens for a reason. I went on loan to Grimsby, worked under the gaffer there, and now here we are.
ON HURST’S CLAIM THAT HE HAS IMPROVED AS A CHARACTER
Accrington was the biggest learning curve I’ve had. I definitely did wake up and think ‘if I do want a career at a good level then I need to work hard and get my head down’. I probably did mature quite a bit last season.
ON ‘MAD SUMMER’
It was a bit of a mad summer not knowing where I’d be at. My agent spoke to a few clubs and it was a case of waiting to see whose bid was going to be accepted. Thankfully everything got sorted.
It was hard. At certain points I didn’t think it would happen and that would have been tough to take. I tried to concentrate on my game, obviously played the first game of the season for Accrington, but wasn’t probably 100% right mentally.
I’m just thankful everything has been sorted.
ON PETERBOROUGH INTEREST
Not for the first time in my career Peterborough were interested. To be fair, it’s a very good club, a lot of strikers have come through there and gone on to do big things, Dwight Gayle being the prime example.
It was a club I was very close to joining. I liked what the gaffer (Steve Evans), Darragh MacAnthony (owner) and Barry Fry (director of football) were saying, but obviously a chance came up here that I couldn’t turn down.
I would have been mad to chose League One over the Championship. It’s life changing to move to the Championship from where I was.
ON STEPPING UP TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
When you come from little old Accrington to such a big club, with a massive stadium and massive fanbase, you are bound to have a few nerves. I’ve worked hard for this move. I’m just looking forward to getting out there now and hopefully showing people what I can do.
I think it will be a big step up coming from League Two, but I’ve already had a taste in pre-seaosn. We played Middlesbrough, I scored against them, we played Huddersfield, I scored against them, and we played Blackburn as well. It’s a step up I’m looking forward to.
I’m desperate to score, but more desperate to help the team get three points. I showed last year that I am an unselfish player with my work rate.
I’ll play wherever the gaffer plays me. Whatever role I’m in I’ll give my all. Over the years I’ve played a few different roles. I like to think I’m quite versatile.
ON WEARING NUMBER NINE
It’s just another shirt – whether it’s nine or 99, at the end of the day you’re still having to get the ball in the back of the net.
It’s a great shirt to have though and a proud moment for me getting it. All my family were delighted when I was holding it up.
ON BEING REUNITED WITH FORMER ACCRINGTON TEAM-MATE JANOI DONACIEN
Last year I think it’s fair to say that JD was the best full-back in League Two – both on the ball and off the ball. I can’t remember many occasions where a winger got by him.
He made very few mistakes off the ball and on the ball he offered a lot as well. Last season he played on the left quite a bit and would get around the side and come in on his right foot.
He’s a very solid defender when a lot of the time these days full-backs concentrate on the attacking.
Just like me he needs to get up to scratch after not having the most intense pre-season, but I’m sure we’ll be fine.
ON HIS ELECTRIC PACE
There wasn’t many sports days I didn’t come first in! I think a lot of people have seen the clips from last season. That’s what I’m about; I like to play on the shoulder, I like to get in behind and I like to run at defenders with and without the ball.
I’ve been given this pace from God knows where, but I’m going to use it to my advantage.
A lot of players have pace in football, but not necessarily the footballing brain to make the most of it. Over the years I have learnt to use the pace to the best of my ability.
I can’t remember many players being quicker than me, but you have to use it right. If you don’t use it correctly then it could be a waste. I’m hoping to learn even more how to use it here.
ON TOMORROW NIGHT’S LEAGUE CUP TIE AT EXETER
It’s always a tough place to go, not only because of the distance but the atmosphere they have there. I’m not sure if the new stand is quite finished yet, but it looks a bit odd when there’s no backdrop behind the goal.
They’re a tough side and, with the gaffer (Paul Tisdale) leaving, I’m not really sure what kind of direction they are going to be going in this season. They are tough physical side, but I am sure we’ve got enough to get past them.
Cup games are always fun, especially for the fans. Last year we (Accrington) beat Preston at this stage of the League Cup with a 94th minute winner and then we went on to play West Brom at home.
Accrington showed that upsets are possible. We need to be aware that Exeter are going to be going for it. They will have a chance. Just because it’s League Two versus Championship doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance. We need to concentrate on our game.