Chris Lewington is ready to battle with Sam Walker for Colchester United’s No. 1 spot
- Credit: Su Anderson
Sam Walker better watch out – Chris Lewington is after his jersey.
Lewington has not just signed for Colchester United to keep the bench warm. The 25-year-old means business, which means ousting Walker from his No. 1 berth.
The experienced Lewington, who rattled up 143 games for previous club Dagenham & Redbridge, rubber-stamped a move to Colchester on Tuesday, on the same day as new full-backs Sean Clohessy and Ben Gordon arrived from Kilmarnock and Ross County respectively.
Lewington hardly missed a game during the last three years, for League Two outfit Dagenham, and he doesn’t want to just play second fiddle to Walker at his new club, even though the ex-Chelsea man had an outstanding season last term.
“I know that I have got to impress people here,” admitted Lewington.
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“Before, while I was at Dagenham, I may have taken it for granted a little bit, because I was there for five years and maybe knew I was going to play.
“Coming to Colchester, I know you have got to work hard to get your place. It’s a challenge, I have got to work hard for my place, and that’s why I came here.
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“Obviously Sam (Walker) has got the shirt at the moment. Now it’s my shout to come in and make sure it becomes my shirt.
“I have just got to work hard and then see what happens.
“Only one keeper can play, obviously, and I have to do everything in my power to make sure that it is me who plays.
“Hopefully, the manager sees it that way as well.”
Sidcup-born Lewington was at Charlton Athletic for three years as a youngster, up to the age of 13, but otherwise learnt his trade in non-league at the likes of Erith & Belvedere, Dulwich Hamlet, Fisher, Sittingbourne and Leatherhead.
He eventually signed full-time with the Daggers in 2009 and, after being the understudy to club stalwart Tony Roberts (445 league games for the Daggers), he became the No. 1 in 2011.
“I loved my time at Dagenham and will never say a bad word about the place,” continued Lewington.
“Dagenham have a good set-up. They are a well-run club and are a family-orientated club.
“I was the regular No. 1 for the last three seasons, bar a couple of injuries here and there, and I got to the point where I wanted to push myself onto the next level.
“I wanted to make myself available to play at that level, to see if I could make the step up. It was a risk, but you have to take chances in life.
“And I think it’s a risk that will definitely pay off. I will do everything to make sure I am playing in this league.
“I want to eventually step up and play at even higher level, hopefully with Colchester, and this move ticks all the right boxes.
“Now I’ve got to impress the manager in pre-season, plus the other players and the staff.”
It didn’t take Lewington very long to make his decision to sign for the U’s.
Manager Joe Dunne was on the look-out for another keeper, following former No. 2 Mark Cousins’ move, ironically, to Dagenham & Redbridge.
“I got a phone call from Colchester just a few days ago, inviting me to come down here and have a look, and wondering whether I would be interested in possibly coming to the club,” revealed Lewington.
“I did just that. The facilities are fantastic, so it was a no-brainer really. It’s a great club, and I think the way the manager wants to play is fantastic, like we did at Dagenham last season.
“The game has developed so much, and playing from the back is so important. I really enjoy playing that kind of football.
“I’ve been in League One before. We got promoted with Dagenham in the first season I was there, and I played a couple of games in League One. Obviously there is a difference in standard. You’ve got to be more clinical in League One, and if you make a mistake you will get punished.
“League Two is a great league as well, which is where I have played the majority of my career.
“But now I’m looking forward to this challenge,” added Lewington.