Stuart Nelson using experience to take a more relaxed approach to keeping.

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Consistency has been the key reason for a solid defence this season for Gillingham keeper Stuart Nelson.

The Gills have been a resolute unit at the back this season with Joe Martin, Matt Fish, Leon Legge, and Adam Barrett being the regular selection in front of Nelson.

It is a partnership that has seen them concede just 36 goals home and away, and on a personal note for Nelson he has set a new league clean sheet record of 18.

“The team as a whole has been different class,” he said. “I’ve played in other teams where players have come in and out. The consistency all season has been different class and made my job a lot easier.

“We have done what we set out to do, that was the ultimate goal (getting promoted). Being champions has put the gloss on the top.”

The 31-year-old admitted he has felt a lot more relaxed between the sticks than he did earlier in his career which has improved his decision making.

“I’ve taken knockbacks all my life, but it only drives you on,” he said. “From where I started out in Stroud, it’s not a hotbed of football. It’s rugby. My teachers at school didn’t fancy me as a footballer. My ambition was to play one league game but I’m near 300 now.

“I came into the game late, it’s been hard work and enjoyable. Now I’m getting older I take a step back and relax more. That’s only been a positive. I make better decisions. In my early career I was so het up I would not remember games. It was like another part of my life, now I take everything in and really enjoy.”

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