Jordan Gent is aiming to get Cambridge City back up the pyramid
PUBLISHED: 07:07 15 August 2017
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Defender is eyeing a strong challenge from Lilywhites
Supporters of football clubs love to make comparisons between their current crop of players and those that have previously donned the shirt.
It is a link between the past and the present, and helps people reminisce about the attributes that have put certain individuals in the folklore of teams.
And Jordan Gent could be on the path to becoming one such player.
A giant in defence would be a fair description of the centre-back, who was a stalwart for Cambridge City as they kept six clean sheets in a row in their unfortunate bid to avoid relegation last season.
Gent was never shy of throwing his body in the way of a shot, getting a foot in or putting his head on the ball, and they are all characteristics that mark out another former City favourite.
And the similarities are perhaps no surprise, as it was the ex-Lilywhite Glen Fuff that Gent made his debut alongside as a 17-year-old when at St Neots.
“He was one of the players I actually remember watching as a 12-year-old, then to go and make my debut in men’s football alongside him, there was nobody better to learn from at that level of football at all,” said Gent.
“He had similar sorts of clubs to me as well. He was at St Neots, he was also at Soham.
“To have a career similar to him is something that I would be proud of to be honest. He is very well known in this area as being a top centre-half in non-League football.”
Gent, 25, may have made his earned his chance at St Neots, but had floated around the youth teams of Cambridge United, Ipswich and Peterborough without really making a breakthrough, and in those days, he was a central midfielder.
But he had been with City’s youth team at under-12 and under-13 level.
“I used to watch them as a boy, going up to Milton Road, so it’s almost come full circle for me really,” said Gent. “I probably went to most home games with the rest of the youth team.
“I was more of a City fan than a Cambridge United fan. I always looked out for their results so I’ve always had some sort of allegiance.
“My dad used to go and watch them as a boy, his dad used to take him, so without a doubt there is some sort of allegiance there.”
However, it was through the youth set-up at St Neots that Gent made his way, rising from the reserves to make his first-team debut as a teenager.
He went on to have considerable success with the Saints, helping them to promotion to the Evo-Stik League Southern, Premier Division before making the switch to Soham Town Rangers.
“It was a time when there were a lot of changes going on at the club,” said Gent.
“The team that had won back-to-back promotions were all splitting up and it was a little bit of an exodus and a bit of a change at the club.
“I think they saw things differently so it was just one of those things really. Soham gave me the opportunity to play under Steve Fallon, who was obviously very well known and I took it and really enjoyed my football.”
Having suffered a tricky start to the 2015/16 season, Robbie Nightingale and Dave Theobald arrived at Soham to stabilise the club and help them avoid relegation.
So when Gent was offered the opportunity to link up with them again at City, he jumped at the chance, despite their ominous position.
And although it did not quite work out in the end, Gent is optimistic that the foundations are in place for City to bounce back immediately.
“Looking at the position the club were in at the time, I always knew it was a possibility that we might get relegated,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, I wanted to make that step up and I’d been wanting to go back to that level of football for a few years.
“I thought even if we do go down, I’m at a good club that has the ambition and potential to come straight back up.
“There was no doubt in my mind that it was the right move for me in footballing terms.
“I can’t even remember by how many points we were in the relegation zone at the time. It almost looked impossible, but we gave it a good go and we very nearly did it.
“To take it to the last day was an achievement in itself to be honest.”
He added: “To be honest, if we’d had that group from the start last season, I’ve got no doubt we would have stayed up.
“If we can keep the core of that group together we’d give ourselves the best possible chance [of promotion].”