Colchester United boss John McGreal hails Cameron James as having a ‘bright future’ ahead of Luton clash

George Elokobi, left, congratulates Cameron James after the latter's impressive full debut against W

George Elokobi, left, congratulates Cameron James after the latter's impressive full debut against Wycombe last month. James has drawn praise from boss John McGreal. Picture;: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Up until just over a month ago, young defender Cameron James had never even started a senior match.

But tomorrow the 19-year-old centre-half is set to make his eighth start in a row, as Colchester United entertain fifth-placed Luton Town in a mouth-watering League Two tussle.

U’s boss John McGreal, himself a centre-half by trade, has been particularly impressed with the composure shown by James, who only turned 19 on February 11.

Academy product James has been a key member of a three-man central defence alongside George Elokobi and Matt Briggs.

“Cameron (James) was one of those boys that I used when I was with the under-21s, when he was only 16 or 17, so I’ve known him for a while,” explained McGreal.

“He has come in and done a fantastic job. He has shown composure, and last week (at Crewe) I think I saw one of the best passes of the season, where he has stepped in and played a ball out wide left for Briggsy.

“Cameron’s’ shown great maturity for such a young man, and he’s only just turned 19 as well. He’s looked after himself well, he recovers well, and I know for a fact that he eats very well.

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“He’s got a very bright future in the game. He’s very level-headed, you’ve seen that with his displays.

“Furthermore, George Elokobi has definitely helped him along the way. Not only has he helped Cameron, but George has also helped the likes of Frankie Kent and Tom Eastman – their form before they got injured was superb as well.

“George gets a little buzz from that, starting to help one or two of the younger lads around him.

“Plus, they do all the running for him!” joked McGreal.

James made his senior debut on the final day of last season, as a substitute against Rochdale, and had only made a couple more brief substitute appearances before enjoying his full debut in the 1-0 home win over Wycombe on February 21.

At the other end of the pitch, Rekeil Pyke has recently started his first two games in the Football League, against Mansfield and at Crewe. The Huddersfield loanee should be involved again this weekend.

McGreal said: “Is it a tough ask? Yes, but he’s taken his opportunity and he’s learning all the time. He’s a big lad and he runs the channels well.”

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