Derry City can unlock Brandon Kavanagh's potential

DERRY CITY boss Ruaidhri Higgins is hopeful of unlocking the potential of Ireland U21 international Brandon Kavanagh and predicts the Dubliner can become a ‘top player’ in the League of Ireland.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 6:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 6:26 pm
Brandon Kavanagh is excited to join Derry City on a three year deal.

Higgins believes the former Shamrock Rovers talent is arriving on Foyleside at the perfect stage of his development and he’s ‘excited’ to unleash the 21 year-old creative midfielder in 2022.

Scoring six goals and chipping in with seven assists in 27 league games with Bray Wanderers last season earned him a place in the PFAI First Division ‘Team of the Year’ for 2021. And Higgins is confident he can become a real goal threat for the Candy Stripes next season.

“Brandon is at the very early stages of his career and he’s a player we rate extremely highly,” said the Derry boss. “He’s only just turned 21 and brings real quality. He’s a very technical footballer who finds space easily and his game intelligence is right up there. He has a lovely left foot and will get people off their seat. He’s got so much potential but it’s up to himself and us to try and unlock that and turn him into a top player in this league which I have no doubt he will become.

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“Brandon is a smashing talent, someone who burst onto the scene a few years ago. I think he’s coming here at the right time. He’s been out on loan and gained first team experience. He’s excited to come here as well and be part of it.”

Kavanagh, who has reportedly attracted attention from English Premiership outfit Crystal Palace in recent months, joins Derry on a three-year contract which is further proof of the forward-thinking change in the club’s transfer and recruitment policies under Higgins.

“He signs a three-year contract which is what we want to do,” explained the Limavady man. “As I said before, we’re not in a rush. We want to build a team here over a number of years to be competitive and I think you can see that with the length of contracts we’re giving, particularly to our younger players.”

The talented midfielder from Crumlin can play in several positions in the final third of the pitch and Higgins is delighted his addition to the squad brings further attacking options to a team which boasts the likes of Jamie McGonigle, Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy, James Akintunde and Will Patching.

“I think, personally, at this time in his development, I know he can play centrally but I think his best position is off the right hand side coming in. He picks up clever positions coming in off the right hand side and he’s a really intelligent footballer. He scored seven or eight goals last year but I think he can add more goals and more assists with the ability he has and it’s up to us to unlock that and try to get him into positions where he can hurt the opposition.

“I’m really excited by him. I’ve rated him highly since he broke on the scene as a 16 or 17 year-old. I remember his debut (for Shamrock Rovers) against Dundalk when I was involved in the 5-2 game in Tallaght (June 2018),” recalled Higgins

“His courage to get on the ball and bravery, he just loves having the ball, so I think he will excite people here. He’s a really creative talent.”

For a glimpse of what Kavanagh’s capable of, take a look at his sensational goal against Galway for Bray in the First Division playoff semi-final. It was a goal which excited Higgins who has no doubt he will bring a creative spark to his frontline.

“The goal against Galway in the semi-final of the play-off where he gets it on the halfway line, plays two one-twos, takes it to the edge of the box and sticks it in the top corner. It’s what he’s capable of but I do believe he can score more goals and create more goals,” he added.

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