Upcoming MatchDartford v Yeovil Town/December 9, 2023/Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park

Player Interview – Ben Francis

Saturday’s game against Truro City saw the First Team debut of Academy player Ben Francis

Having been named in the squad against Bath City at the start of September which saw Ben remain on the bench, Manager Tony Burman handed the young player a run out for the remaining 9 minutes of the match on Saturday.

How did you feel about making your Dartford FC debut?
I was really happy, and didn’t let my nerves get the better of me. When Tony said I was coming on I just wanted to get out there. I knew I had a job to do. All I could think about was scoring and playing the remainder of the game well. I really wanted to get that equaliser, and when I got my chance and the Truro keeper saved it I was disappointed. But I didn’t let it affect me, and carried on playing the game to the best of my ability.

How does it feel to be part of the First Team?
Very proud of myself. I have worked hard to get my place, and I feel I have got something out of the hard work I have put in. Before the Bath City match, Tony asked me to call him to find out if I had a place in the travelling squad. I wasn’t sure what to expect at all, but when he said come along on Saturday, travel with the squad and you’ll be on the bench I was over the moon. The game went well for the team, and I wasn’t needed for the match but it was still a great experience.

Has any of the First Team given you any advice?
Andy Pugh has given me loads of advice and support. He’s said I should keep doing what I’m doing, and holding the ball up well. I watch Pughy and I learn a lot from him and the way he plays football. He is a great role model for me.

What is it like being in the First Team?
It’s really good. The players are very welcoming and they treat me like one of them – a senior player when I’m in the changing room and on the pitch, and not as an Academy player. I spend most of my time with Ebou Adams and Deren Ibrahim – they sort of look after me.

How have the rest of the Academy Team responded to your First Team call up?
I saw them all yesterday ahead of our FA Youth Cup match, and they’ve all congratulated me and said well done which I am really pleased about.

How have your parents reacted to your call up to the First Team?
They’re extremely proud of me and supportive. They’re always telling me to keep working hard and my chances will come more often.

What are you hoping to achieve from the remainder of the season?
I want to get some more first team appearances under my belt, and also I hope to win the league with the Academy.