BILLERICAY Town new boy Jake Nickless is keen to be remembered for more than just joking with Steven Gerrard.

Nickless received national attention at the age of just five when as Chelsea mascot he comically pulled away from shaking hands with the Liverpool legend in the tunnel at Stamford Bridge.

But Nickless is now firmly focused on his own playing career and is thrilled to have joined the National League South side after working hard throughout lockdown.


On target - Jake Nickless celebrates scoring for Billericay last weekend

“I’ve been training hard since the start of lockdown,” said Nickless.

“A lot of people in football saw it as a negative but I tried to look at the positives and use it to get fit and ready for pre-season.”

Nickless, who is now 20, had been playing for North Greenford before the coronavirus pandemic cut short the season.

But he is now keen to make the most of his opportunity at New Lodge and the attacking midfielder is thrilled to have already worked his way into the first team squad.

“I believe in myself but I didn’t expect to push on here as quickly as I have,” said Nickless.

“I thought I would be with the 23s for a few months and then maybe get called in by Jamie (O’Hara) after that but it’s been really good.”


Putting pen to paper - Jake Nickless signs his Billericay Town contract

Nickless scored twice for Billericay against Barking last weekend and is already enjoying working with Town boss O’Hara.

“It’s really good with Jamie,” said Nickless.

“When you first see him you think ‘oh wow it’s Jamie O’Hara’ but after a while it’s just normal and he’s really down to earth and helpful.

“It’s been a good experience so far and I’m enjoying pre-season but it’s all about getting minutes for the start of the season really.”

Such a rise could see Nickless back into the limelight but he will be hard pushed to match his first moment of fame.

Nickless’ handshake with Gerrard has been watched nearly 6.5million times online.


On target - Jake Nickless fires home for Billericay Town

But the youngster cannot really remember too much about what happened.

“I can’t really remember that much about it because I was only five at the time,” said Nickless.

“I don’t really like to speak about it to be honest and I keep quiet about it really.

“When I saw Jamie O’Hara tweet about it the other day I thought oh god because then everyone is like oh you’re him, you’re him!

“It’s one of those things and it was just a laugh when I was kid.

“I can’t believe people still mention it really but it would be nice to make my own name and be remembered for that rather than what happened back then.

 “I’ll take it slowly but hopefully I can continue to develop and get into the first team at some point this season.”

And Nickless would welcome another meeting with Gerrard who now manages Scottish Premier League side Rangers.

“You never know maybe I might get to play against a team managed by Steven Gerrard,” said Nickless, who is based in West London.

“That would be great and I’d definitely shake his hand this time. “

Watch Jake's 'handshake' with Steven Gerrard here.