DENZIL Fernandes is staying true to the three words on his Twitter bio.
‘Chase that dream,’ it says – and that’s exactly what the Drimoleague teenager (19) is doing after signing with Cobh Ramblers.
The dream is to play soccer at the highest level and he feels Ramblers offers him the best chance to move in that direction.
‘I think I can go far, with the ability I have, but I need to show that on the pitch now with Cobh. It’s all about hard work and having the right attitude, and I’m at the ideal club now for the next stage of my career,’ Denzil said.
He joined the Ramblers set-up for pre-season in early January after his time with Cork City came to an end, having being involved with the City U19s for three campaigns since the summer of 2015.
Denzil had come up through the ranks, first at home with Drinagh Rangers in the West Cork Schoolboys League for seven seasons, then with Bandon AFC where his goal-scoring exploits are still remembered, onto Corinthians U17s before Cork City came calling.
Coming to the end of 2017, there was interest from Ramblers in Denzil, and it was time for a chat with City boss John Caulfield.
‘He said that Cobh would be a better option for me at this stage because I wasn’t likely to get much game-time with the first team at Cork City and that it would be a good chance for me to establish myself in the Cobh team and get games,’ Denzil explains.
‘John couldn’t offer me a contract because he feels I need more games at senior level.
‘Last season he called me into training a few times and I couldn’t go all the time – that was a turning point because I wasn’t able to show him what I am capable of. I was only in training once or twice and I don’t think I showed him enough of my ability to warrant them handing me a contract. I totally understand that.
‘Hopefully this season I can show them what I’m made of.’
What Ramblers now have is a talented winger with a point to prove and who is keen to play games and show what he can do.
‘I’m 19 now and I need to be playing matches to develop as a player,’ Denzil says.
‘I can’t just sit on the bench, I need to play.
‘It was hard to leave Cork City after all these years but I know too how hard it is to get into the first team there at the moment, so I’m happy to have the chance to play football.’
Denzil liked what Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson had to say, with the prospect of more game time catching his attention straightaway, and he feels Cobh is the right fit for him to develop.
There are similarities with Connor Ellis’ decision to leave Cork City for Limerick FC – both Connor and Denzil want to play games.
‘The biggest challenge for me is the physicality of the game,’ Denzil admits.
‘I’m up against men now, so it’s going to be harder to keep hold of the ball and trying not to get pushed over. I was given a gym programme after I joined Cobh and I’m starting to see the results already.’
Fitter, faster, stronger and confident he has what it takes to make his mark in the First Division, Denzil continues to chase the dream, with Cobh Ramblers offering him the ideal platform to perform.