Loanee talks to official matchday magazine, just before extending stay.Keshi Anderson has recently extended his loan stay from Premier League Crystal Palace until the New Year.
The twenty-year old – who has impressed for Rovers since his arrival from Selhurst Park – recently gave an exclusive interview to our matchday magazine, Red And White.
Here are the best bits…
How did you get started in football?
Just last year I was playing for Barton Rovers semi-professionally. I’d played in their youth team after being released by Watford where I’d been an academy player. I started the season pretty well and carried my form until Christmas when a few League Two clubs were interested and I was training for a short period of time with Luton. In January, Cambridge put in an offer and a few other teams heard about me and decided to bring me in on trial. I ended up going on trial at Norwich and Brentford; both were pretty keen to take me on but I ended up playing on trial for Brentford against Crystal Palace where I scored a hat-trick in six minutes and from there I was in contact with Palace and the manager of the Under 21s sold me the club and it all felt right. The lads were welcoming and it was easy going where I felt at home and signed for them on deadline day. I’ve worked my way up and luckily I’ve had my chance to come out on loan to Doncaster and gain some experience, I just hope it all goes to plan.
What was it like being released by Watford?
I was released as an academy player from Watford and went straight to Barton so playing reserve football in the men’s’ league is a lot more physical than in the Under 21’s and I benefited a lot from it because, although I’m not the biggest, I know how to use my body well against bigger players. It helped me that way and the tempo is quicker and sharper so when I came in to the Under 21’s I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was easier than playing against the men.
Did you know your chance would come if you stuck at it?
Yes, definitely. One of my mates mums said to me something along the lines of: “I’m proud of you because at one point when all of your mates were out working, you were sticking it out and working hard on your football and you told me that you were going to make it even though you were only playing semi-professionally.”
How long were you prepared to wait for a professional contract?
I didn’t think about it. It’s not that I don’t want to work but football is my job and it doesn’t feel like work. I’m here and I’m enjoying myself. Working 9-5 was something I never really wanted to do.
How pivotal was that six minute hat-trick?
A lot of people say that I’m famous for it but I wouldn’t say that. It happened and I’m glad that it did. Its put me on the stepping stone but I’m not looking back on it, I want to progress. I want those hat-tricks to be in the Premier League, I want to play for Palace in the long term but my short term goal is to be at Doncaster and get goals here to push us up the league and prove my worth.
You came in to Palace from non league and then they sign international players, what’s that like?
It’s pretty amazing. I’d been in there a few months before (Yohan) Cabaye came but the likes of (Yannick) Bolasie and (Wilfried) Zaha were there and, as a fan, you address them by their last name rather than their first name. When I went I was addressing them by their surnames and getting banter about it. When Cabaye came in I kept calling him Cabaye because he’s a professional footballer and you look up to him but gradually it’s become Yohan, Wilf and Yannick because they’re my friends. The first team and the Under 21s are kept together and in and around each other with the gym and when eating etc.
You come in under the management of someone who’s been touted as a potential future England manager in Alan Pardew…
Personally I think he’s a great manager. When I first came in, he told me that I’d made a big step and he knew that I had what it takes and I just needed to prove it. That gave me the base to come in and play and not be scared to express myself. Where he’s taken Palace to from when he first joined is incredible. He’s a great manager and if he was to get the England job in the future I’d be happy for him.
Do you take inspiration from the likes of Dwight Gayle and those who’ve trod similar paths?
I look up to Gayley. When I first came he was very welcoming and he was speaking to me in training saying that if I needed anyone to talk to or I was struggling then I could go to him. We practice free kicks etc. and he’s a good friend.
What were your expectations of your loan move and how have you lived up to them?
I expected it to be a lot more physical and I expected it to be sharper and it’s been exactly that! I knew what I was getting myself in to but I’ll always back my football ability and play how I play. When I signed, the gaffer told me he’d brought me in to not be like anyone else but to express myself and be different. I’ve played how I play but with the team in mind. There’s times when I could have been better but that comes with getting used to new players but its been good since I’ve been here.
Mark Bright recently tweeted about your debut; do Palace generally monitor your progress?
I keep in contact and I talk to Brighty particularly if I don’t think I’ve done so well in certain games and I’ll message him to go through my clips and ask him where I’ve done well and where I haven’t done so well.
You seem level headed, was there a chance that a couple of goals could make it appear easy?
No, never! Playing in any league is never easy, scoring goals is the hardest part of the game but for me it’s about what I can do on the ball. If I’m one-on-one with a player I back myself to beat him.
The fans have taken to you – is it the goals or the haircut?
Hopefully both! A lot of my friends tell me it needs cutting but I’m going to keep it for a bit longer.
Do you want this loan to continue?
I hope it gets extended, if not then I’ll be disappointed because I think I’ve done well since I’ve been here but if not then I can go to Palace and hopefully I’ve done enough for other League 1 or maybe League 2 teams to scout me but I’d love to stay. If the new gaffer comes in and doesn’t want me though, there’s not a lot I can do.
RAW is an 84 page matt finished, perfect bound magazine available on every home matchday at Keepmoat Stadium for just £3.