Gavin Kilkenny says he is itching to get going at Charlton after sealing his loan move on deadline day.
The Irish midfielder arrives from Premier League outfit AFC Bournemouth, who he helped earn promotion to the top flight last term.
Kilkenny spent the first half of the campaign on loan in the Championship with Stoke City, where he worked under Manager Dean Holden, albeit briefly.
Watch Kilkenny's first interview as an Addick above, or read on for the full transcript…
Gav, welcome to Charlton. How does it feel to be a Charlton player?
“Thanks very much. I’m buzzing to be here. As soon as I heard of the interest I was very keen to be get the deal done, so like I said I’m delighted to finally be here.”
It’s obviously deadline day which is a bit of busy time for everyone concerned. When did you first hear about our interest?
“The gaffer text me last week and it all happened quite quickly. I was with Stoke and I was on the bench there [on Sunday], so as soon as I heard the deal had more or less been sorted I had to get down straight on the road from Stoke. That was a tough day – I had to pack up the place and then just straight down but that’s just obviously the nature of deadline day when it gets this close to the end of the window. I’m just happy to get it done.”
Dean, our Manager, was obviously at Stoke at the start of the season so you do know him as you say. How important was he in this move?
“He was obviously very important. He was probably the main reason. As soon as he text me I could see straight away by the things he was telling me the ambition that he has. Obviously speaking to the lads since I’ve been in, they speak quite highly of Dean. Like I said, I worked with him at Stoke and I really liked what I had seen. He’s obviously a very positive character and tactically he knows his stuff. As soon as he text me, I was all in on it and I’m delighted to get here.”
How would you assess your first half of the season? Is it fair to say you’ve maybe had limited opportunities?
“Yeah, it’s obviously not gone to plan. There was a couple of injuries in there towards the start and then the first Manager got sacked, which was a pity for me. It’s been tough the last couple of months. I haven’t got any playing time - definitely nowhere near enough what I would have wanted – but I’m just keen to get on the pitch now and show everyone what I can do.”
Prior to the start of this season, you played an important role in helping Bournemouth get promoted. How good an experience was that for you?
“That was amazing. It probably the best experience of my career so far. It was a brilliant season and I enjoyed it so much. I just want to try and build on that now and hopefully show what I can do.”
What do you think you learned from that season in particular?
“Well, that was probably my first real season, my breakthrough season. I got used to games Tuesday, Saturday like it is in League One and like it’s going to be going forward. It was great exposure to that and I was playing with top players at Bournemouth, so hopefully that will stand me in good stead coming here.”
You said to us off camera that you’ve been at Bournemouth for quite a long time now. If you look back at the Gav Kilkenny who joined Bournemouth compared to the one now, how much do you think you’ve changed, learned and developed?
“Yeah, a lot. When I came over I was just a young boy from Dublin. I was 16 so I’ve obviously grown and developed a lot. I’m completely different now and I think I’ve evolved as a player and obviously learned how to compete. Obviously men’s football is a different ball game so I just want to knuckle down now, get games and show everyone what I can do.”
For Charlton fans who haven’t seen you before, what can we expect from you?
"I’d say I’m a ball-playing midfielder but I like to get stuck in and bring energy in the middle of the pitch. I want to get forward but I like to try and do every part of the game from the midfield - defend and attack - so I don’t want to be labelled as one or the other. I want to do a little bit of both.”
You may or may not be aware that in years gone by we’ve had players impress in the red of Charlton but also the green of Ireland. I know you’ve been capped at youth level by Ireland – how important is your international career to you?
“It’s obviously the pinnacle for any player, but especially I think if you come from Ireland because we’re a very patriotic country. That’s probably the end goal I suppose you could say - to play senior international football for Ireland. Hopefully coming here, getting games and pushing Charlton up the table which is the main goal and then if that can help me get in the senior team that would be brilliant.”
Someone like Josh Cullen really impressed here… looking at someone like him as a young Irish midfielder, how much inspiration do you take from someone like him?
“Yeah, loads. I know he was here, I’ve heard about that and obviously I take a lot of inspiration from that. Seeing how his career has gone since he’s been here and the rise he’s had and obviously now he’s playing at Burnley, who are top of the league and probably playing in the Premier League next year. It’s definitely something to aspire to and obviously he plays in a similar position and he’s playing for the Ireland team as well, so he’s definitely someone that I’d look to emulate.”
You’re with us until the end of the season. What are you hoping to achieve in the next five or six months?
“Like I said I want to push Charlton up the table. Even just seeing the training ground… I haven’t seen the stadium yet but its definitely not a League One club. It should at least be in the Championship, so we want to push up the table and at least get towards the play-offs and put in a real challenge for that. We’ll see what happens obviously and then personally I just want to get back on the pitch.”
Charlton return to The Valley on Saturday, February 11th to take on Fleetwood Town (3pm KO GMT). Click here to purchase your tickets.
(Transcription by Dominik Zielinski)