Doncaster Rovers: The magnificent rise of Keshi Anderson

Keshi Anderson scores his first Football League goal against Swindon Town
Keshi Anderson scores his first Football League goal against Swindon Town

His time as a Football League player may be less than a week old but it is clear to see Keshi Anderson is not short of confidence.

After taking just two games and one goal to play himself into the hearts of Doncaster Rovers supporters, it is not hard to see why.

Keshi Anderson

Keshi Anderson

Signed on loan from Crystal Palace last week, the 20-year-old forward was immediately thrust into his senior professional debut in the high-pressure environment of a local derby.

But on an afternoon of struggle for Rovers, he shone at Bramall Lane, causing the Sheffield United defence problems with his direct running.

And he followed up three days later with a performance of the same ilk, capped with his first senior goal.

All from a man who just eight months ago was playing non-league football.

“My agent put on Twitter after the Sheffield United game that exactly a year earlier I was playing for Barton Rovers in the FA Cup,” Anderson told the Star.

“To think that was only last year. And then it was only February, that I was getting signed by Palace.

“It has been a whirlwind.”

Anderson had a few clubs interested in him after coming through the youth ranks at Barton Rovers, a club currently in Southern League Central Division One, four tiers below the Football League.

He was asked to play in a trial match for Brentford against Crystal Palace in February, a game of football that would change his life.

Not only did Anderson score a hat trick, he did it in six minutes. And it was the ‘perfect’ hat trick of a goal from each foot and his head.

Rather than Brentford, it was Palace who swooped in to sign up the youngster.

And despite climbing eight tiers of the English football pyramid overnight, he says he felt right at home.

He said: “That week was a bit of a shock with how fast everything was coming.

“But when I got to Palace, it just felt right.

“When I was going to training, it felt like that was where I was meant to be.

“I just embraced it. I was doing well there, training, making sure I got to where I wanted to be.

“And when I spoke to Alan Pardew about the loan move and he told me to come to Doncaster, again it just felt right.”

A confident speaker, it is no surprise that Anderson did not have any problems settling in at Rovers on his arrival last week, even if he did confess the weather helped.

“I expected it to be cold up here so I brought up all my big jackets,” he said with a smile. “But it’s not been too bad since I came up.

“It’s been great. Since I came in, all the lads have been really welcoming.

“When I came into training, they were all introducing themselves.

“They told me to come in, do what I do, play how I play. They told me to express myself so it was easy for me to come in and play how I want to play.”

Within a few days, Anderson had his first two senior appearances and his first goal, a lovely curling finish from the corner of the box.

He said: “I was very happy to score that first league goal but all I could think at the time was let’s go again.

“I wanted another one, the lads wanted another goal so I just wanted to get back in and get going again.

“If it’d have been the winner though, I’d have probably gone a bit wild.”

After a successful first week on loan with Rovers, Anderson is looking forward to more, and that stretches beyond the initial 28 days for which he signed.

That will likely depend on the outcome of the club’s current process of recruiting a new manager but Anderson hopes will have done enough to persuade any new potential Rovers boss that his loan should be extended

“It’s a month at the moment but I’d definitely love to stay longer,” he said. “Getting more league appearances, hopefully a few more goals, and pushing the team up the league.

“I hope any manager that has been put forward for the job has been watching the team and has seen that I’ve been doing well and thinks I could be involved more.”

Next up for Rovers and Anderson, another pressure cooker local derby as Barnsley come to the Keepmoat.

It is fair to say the confident forward will not be fazed.