Former Palace winger Dayton arrives at Kilmarnock

Former Crystal Palace winger James Dayton has won a three year deal with Kilmarnock.

Former Crystal Palace winger James Dayton has won a three year deal with Kilmarnock.

The 21-year-old Englishman was released by Palace last summer and joined the Glenn Hoddle Academy after failing to find a club.

"Last year, I had a bit of a nightmare year to be honest," he said.

"I was playing in the Conference and the Conference South and it wasn't what I was looking for.

"There were some days, some weeks when I thought 'what am I doing, I might as well call it a day'.

"I've always wanted to be a footballer. I wasn't so much thinking about what I was going to do afterwards, I was thinking more about just giving up."

However, in November he joined Hoddle's academy in Jerez, Spain, set up by the former England footballer in 2008 to help former Premier League and Football League players return to professional football after being released by their clubs.

"The academy offers a good opportunity for boys who have come out of the game to get back in and, as you can see, for me it's worked out," said Dayton.

He admits that he will be stepping into the unknown should he win a starting place against Scottish Premier League champions Rangers as the season kicks off on Saturday.

"That will be a dream, to be honest, playing in front of 50,000-plus people really would be a great opportunity for me," he said.

"Playing at Ibrox is the next level. So far, my biggest crowd was 24,000 at the Riverside - we played Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup.

"I didn't know a lot of the SPL to be honest, but I know it's a tough, competitive league."

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