Manager James McPake discussed with the website the invaluable contribution of his club captain, Kyle Benedictus, whose recent contract extension promises to solidify his place as a cornerstone of the team until the summer of 2026.
“He is a player that I know really well. He was a young kid when I played alongside him. I was coming to the end of my career, he was just starting and I knew then that there was loads of potential and loads of ability there. If I’m being honest, this isn’t being harsh on Kyle, I just think with a bit of good fortune, that sometimes you need that in football, or a move to happen for you, I think he could have played a lot of football in the Scottish Premiership. It is just my opinion.”
Delving into the technicalities of Kyle’s skills on the field, James noted: “He is a proper defender, he can also play. At times people might look at him and think he has okay pace but he is actually really quick as well.” Kyle’s formidability as a defender is further highlighted by McPake’s admission: “He was never a player we would target as a weak link. He was always the player that would make us work away in other places to play away from him.”
Beyond his skills on the pitch, Benedictus shines as a beacon of leadership. “As a person he is fantastic in and around the place. The way he captains the club takes a lot of problems away from us,” James commented. This leadership, combined with his unwavering spirit, is what seems to make Benedictus indispensable, especially for the younger members of the team.
The manager went on to illustrate the captain’s importance in the dressing room and on the training ground. “He has been great even when he is injured, just the way that he is still talking to players. What a help he is for players like Ewan Otoo and Sam Fisher, young defenders playing and training beside him. They are able to ask him questions and that’s invaluable in my opinion.”
Benedictus’s personality is equally resonant off the field. His manager said, “He is a great person to have around the place, he is bubbly, he is energetic, he is loud at times.” This presence combined with his endearing act of giving away the captain’s armband has etched a permanent place in the hearts of Dunfermline fans.
To sign for the Pars in June 2022 from Raith Rovers, where he made 246 appearances, and captained the side to the League One title in the 2019-20 season, his journey to Dunfermline was met with initial trepidation. However, McPake was confident: “I was confident enough that his performances would put any of that to the side and you can see how much he means to our fans.”
Looking ahead, the gaffer holds high expectations for his captain. “He is only 31 and for a centre back there’s still plenty years left in him.” Beyond the football realm, he appreciates Kyle’s developing personal life, acknowledging his journey into fatherhood for a second time. “We don’t hand contracts out just for the sake of it. We are trying to build something here and credit to the board for doing that, it was never an issue. We got the contract done and he is a valuable member for the next two and a half years at least.”