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Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 14:19 UK

Payne a nice surprise for Stimson

Gillingham

Gillingham manager Mark Stimson has admitted that teenage midfielder Jack Payne has become part of the first team much quicker than he expected.

The 17-year-old has kept summer signing Kevin Maher out of team, by playing in three of Gills' four games so far.

"He's been a nice surprise for us," Stimson told BBC Radio Kent.

"I've always said he's one for the future but at the moment he's doing it our there on the big stage and long may it continue."

Payne made his debut for the Gills against Chester City last October.

He signed his first professional contract in February, which will keep him at Priestfield until the summer of 2011.

"I watched him a lot in the youth side last year," said Stimson, who is adamant that the teenager has earned his place on merit.

"And like I've said to him and all the other players, just play to your strengths, just play your normal game and that's what he's done.



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