Doncaster Rovers: Renewed focus for ‘grown up’ Bennett

Kyle Bennett

Kyle Bennett

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Newly married, newly focused – it is not too much of a stretch to describe Kyle Bennett as a new man.

For so long, the wide man has been high on the list of Rovers’ most frustrating players.

Superb one minute, anonymous the next. All the potential in the world but without consistent performances to back up a true one-to-watch tag.

Though this season is still extremely young, a feeling is spreading that this could finally be the year Bennett emerges as one of Rovers’ key men.

The 23-year-old says everything has fallen into place both personally and professionally over the past few months with his wedding and a clear path to first team action opening up.

But putting it simply, Bennett has grown up.

“I’d say getting married has had a big affect on me.” he told the Star.

“It’s a big step in my life because I’ve always been a free man, doing what I please.

“It’s given me a bit of stability in my life and helped me along in that way.

“When I first came I was only 19 or 20 and I arrived with big expectations.

“I thought I started ok but maybe lost my way a little bit.

“Maybe I let things get to my head. I don’t think I can really put my finger on anything.

“Maybe it was just focus, letting my mind drift elsewhere.

“But I’m back on track.

“I’m focused and everything is about football which is good for me and the club.

“When it comes down to it, football is the only thing that matters.

“That’s what I’m here to do.

“All that matters is the future and where my head is at the minute.”

Fastforward three years from Bennett’s arrival from Bury and the former Wolves trainee is now Rovers’ third longest serving player.

For a while last season, it appeared as though is days at the club were numbered.

Firmly on the fringes, Bennett was sent out on loan to Bradford, an experience he takes plenty of positives from.

It also gave him a new desire to force his way into Dickov’s plans.

He said: “The gaffer was playing other people last year, which is fine. It wasn’t working out for me here.

“The loan was a good experience for me because I got 20 games there which I wouldn’t have had.

“I came back with the mindset of getting into his team.

“I wasn’t involved last season very much which was disappointing for myself but that’s how the gaffer saw it.

“With it now being a smaller squad there’s more of an opportunity for me to get into the team.

“Now, with an injury or suspension – as much as I don’t want that to happen to anyone – I’m probably next in line to jump into the squad.

“In that last year I’ve grown up a little bit.

“I don’t really know for certain what that’s down to but I’m enjoying my time playing.

“The gaffer has put his trust in me to play and I’m just going to enjoy it.

“Hopefully I’ll get the chance to start a few more games.”

Cynics may look to the fact Bennett is into the last year of his Rovers contract as a possible reason for his renewed drive.

But he insists it is purely coincidental.

He said: “In this situation, it probably looks that way.

“Everything has fallen into place for me in my life.

“And every contract you sign, you try your best however long you’ve got left on that contract. Other factors affect your performance.”

As good as his start to the season has been – including a superb strike against Port Vale – Bennett is refusing to get carried away.

“I don’t want to get too overexcited,” he said.

“It’s only been three league games and I’ve scored in one and played well in the others.

“I’m just going to take each game as it comes.

“If I can continue like I have been doing, it’ll be a good season for me.”