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Trinidad and Tobago defender Brent Sancho praised the influence of former international teammate, Ian Cox, in helping him restart his club career at England League One team, Gillingham.


Sancho debuted for the "Gills" on Saturday afternoon as they edged out Bournemouth 1-0 at home to move to fourth place, one point shy of leaders Brentford.

He was introduced in the 68th minute, just a day after signing for the club, as Gillingham manager Neale Cooper effectively shored up his defence to maintain their slender lead.

Sancho credited the 34-year-old Cox, who was man of the match on Saturday, as well as agent Mike Berry, in getting him the opportunity to move to England from relegated Scottish Premier League (SPL) club, Dundee.

"Cox recommended me (to Cooper) who spoke to me and the rest is history," said Sancho. "It really helps having Cox around and he is one of the nicest persons you can meet. He has helped me settle down and, in a perfect world, we will play together in the middle of the defence."

Cooper hinted to Sancho that he might be utilised this season at right back or as a defensive midfielder although he made his first appearance as a central defender as Gillingham switched from 4-4-2 to a 5-3-2 formation to keep out Bournemouth.

Sancho was not too surprised at his early debut after an emotional week for club and country.

"They made a big deal of beating the registration deadline on Friday when I signed," he said, "so I kind of knew that I had a chance of playing. It's been some week for me after getting my work permit on Monday and then playing my first competitive match in a long time against the United States.

"It was disappointing losing against the US but it was just good to be playing again. And then I made my debut yesterday (Saturday)."

Sancho signed a two-year deal on improved terms than his previous contract at Dundee and hopes to benefit from playing in England as well as his close proximity to London, which is 30 minutes away by train.

"I think I am in the right place now because more clubs look at you when you are in England," said Sancho. "I am also looking forward to living closer to London because of the big West Indian community there including some family members."

He thanked girlfriend, Jana, as well as national teammates, Kelvin Jack, Stern John and Shaka Hislop, and family members-mom, dad, sister and cousins-for helping him through his most difficult summer as a professional.

"It wasn't an easy summer going from hotel to hotel and team to team and not knowing where your future lies," he said. "But God is good. I would like to thank Berry too for sorting out my work permit and contractual stuff."

He looks forward to a successful spell with club and country, with Trinidad and Tobago's upcoming World Cup qualifier against Guatemala at the forefront of his mind.

"We have to win against Guatemala and then have to get a result against Costa Rica," said Sancho. "I think those two games are like Cup games. Those will be the biggest games of my career because they might determine whether or not we qualify for the World Cup.

"My goal right now is to qualify for the World Cup and to do well at Gillingham and stamp my authority at this level and, eventually, to play in the Premiership."