Jake Hessenthaler said he wants to help the younger players at Dagenham & Redbridge after joining on a two-year deal.
The 29-year-old central midfielder became the fifth signing of the summer for the National League club when signing until the end of the 2024-25 season.
And the son of former Daggers player Andy – and cousin of current Dagger Josh Hare – arrives at Victoria Road with over 150 appearances at Gillingham to his name, having spent nine years at Priestfield.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s been on the cards for a while now,” he told the club website.
“I think the club is forward thinking at the moment and is going in the right direction, which makes it something I really want to be a part of.
“I’ve played a lot of games now so I’ll bring experience to the younger lads so I can try and help them.
“I enjoy doing the dirty side of the game, which is sometimes rare so you’ll get a hard working and 100 per cent in my performances.”
Hessenthaler goes straight into the squad for the pre-season friendly against West Ham United on Saturday.
And boss Ben Strevens was delighted to get his man.
“We are delighted to bring Jake to Dagenham & Redbridge,” he added.
“We’ve had to be really patient in order to get the deal done, but now it’s all signed we’re all excited to get to work with him.
“Lewis [Young] has worked closely with him and knows him better than anyone and I’ve seen Jake play since he was a young lad breaking through the youth ranks and into the first-team at Gillingham.
“We all feel he compliments our other midfielders that we already have at the football club perfectly and his qualities and level of experience he comes in with will hugely elevate us.”
Daggers have also announced Elliot Justham as their new captain for the 2023-24 season.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper has made over 250 appearances for the club since signing in 2016 and said: “First of all I’d like to say how much of a privilege it is to be able to captain this fantastic football club this season and onwards.
“It is something I now hold immense pride over. This is now my eighth season with the club and I feel now is the right time to take on that responsibility.
“I want to greatly thank the manager for the trust he’s shown in me, but there’s also a great leadership group alongside me.”
“Since coming back it’s clear to see everyone is on the same page, I think the Gaffer has recruited very well and alongside his staff, have laid down how he expects us to play which has been bought into by the whole squad which compliments the excitement and buzz around the club right now.”