Nico - why I decided to go it alone - 07/01/2004
Nico Vaesen today revealed why he did a U-turn and joined Gillingham on loan. The Belgian said his month's stay at Priestfield would sharpen him up and help his bid to become Blues' first-choice goalkeeper again.
Before Christmas Vaesen, 34, had vowed he would reject loan offers because he didn't believe in the system.
"I did have reservations, you never know what you are getting yourself into and continental players generally tend to see it as a strange thing to do," said Vaesen. "But after talking through it with the gaffer, it became clear this was best for all parties. "He told me that now was the right time in my comeback to play at a higher level than the reserves. "He said I could play reserve football until I was 45, I needed it to be more competitive.
"As there is a big gap in our reserve fixtures, I would have gone three or four weeks without a game as well. I think the month with Gillingham will really help sharpen me up and also, when I have come through it, convince the gaffer I'm ready if needed." Vaesen said playing two games in three days over the festive period for the Gills -both victories - gave him a "nice feeling" and acted as a good test for his knee, which was operated on in March.
Gillingham have lost both Jason Brown and Vince Bartram to injury, hence the call for Vaesen, who has negotiated nine reserve games for Blues this season. "What I have made clear is that once the month is over, that's it," he said. "I don't want to be going to another club for a month, then another one.
"The games for Gillingham will hopefully get my confidence up and the gaffer will then take me back and regard me as in contention."
Vaesen's determination to prove himself is no less motivated by his contractual situation as his deal expires this summer. He said: "I'm not that nervous about it. The gaffer has given me his word that we will talk about a new one, and he's been good to me ever since he's been here. "I'm not banging on the table demanding they give me one, I appreciate I may not be a Savage or a Dugarry and the club want to know what division we will be in next season. "It's up to me to prove to them I am ready again and, when I do, they will be getting a new goalkeeper for 'free', so to speak."
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