From Manchester United to Bognor - but Swedish stop on journey was vital for Kayne

Nyewood Lane newcomer  Kayne Diedrick-Roberts says playing abroad is a great way for young footballers to develop their game.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 5:00 pm
Kayne Diedrick-Roberts in his Manchester United days

The newest member of Bognor’s squad has spoken highly of his short stint in Sweden, commenting on how the experience helped him to grow as a footballer.

The 22-year-old stressed that plenty can be learned away from English football, and players shouldn’t be discouraged by the prospect of leaving home.

According to Diedrick-Roberts, the experience abroad was a psychological challenge, as the move forced a change of lifestyle.

“Being away from home and out of my comfort zone really helped the mental side of the game,” he said. "It meant moving away from family and focusing everything on football.”

Bognor’s new winger took the conventional route into football in his teenage years, training and developing within the English youth system at Fulham and Manchester United.

While his time as a United prospect significantly improved his game, Diedrick-Roberts was forced to compete with the likes of Marcus Rashford – and struggled to steal the limelight.

“I didn’t properly feel I’d ever break into the first-team squad with Marcus as my competition,” Diedrick-Roberts said. “And when you leave that sort of academy, you feel another club is just around the corner, but it doesn’t always work like that.

“It was a real reality check and I just felt I needed some time out of the game to think about everything.”

Following his short break from the game, Diedrick-Roberts looked to non-league football, undergoing new challenges with Greenwich and Lewes.

In June, the Englishman sought new pastures and moved to IK Gauthoid, who compete in the fourth tier of Swedish football.

“It was a great change for me and helped me loads – both physically and mentally,” he said.

“Obviously, I’d gone from non-league football, where we were training twice a week, to Sweden and full-time football. For any young footballer – playing abroad is a very good option.”

Rocks striker Jordy Mongoy, who remained in contact with Diedrick-Roberts after their time together at IK Gauthiod, was quick to inform Rocks bosses Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake of his former team-mate’s availability a couple of months ago.

Although they play in similar positions, Diedrick-Roberts hopes the duo will be named on the same teamsheet soon for Bognor, and he excited at the prospect of sharing the field with Mongoy once again.

“I think Jordy and I could play well together because we know how each other play, whether it’s him on the left and me up front or the other way around,” he told us.

“My favourite position is left wing, but I can play anywhere across the front three or in a No 10, so hopefully there’ll be plenty of opportunity for us to play together.

Eager to bring extra dynamism and flair to Bognor’s attack, Diedrick-Roberts is determined to entertain the Rocks supporters once the Isthmian premier starts up again.

He said: “I’m the sort of player that likes to get the crowd off their seat – get the ball out wide and run at defenders. It’s just about affecting the game for me, goals and assists.”