Colchester United’s Macauley Bonne follows in the footsteps of Mark Kinsella and Greg Halford

Macauley Bonne

Macauley Bonne - Credit: Archant

Macauley Bonne enjoyed a dream international debut, for Zimbabwe Under-23s last Sunday evening.

Greg Halford, pictured during his Colchester United days

Greg Halford, pictured during his Colchester United days

Colchester United teenager Bonne was not involved in the U’s 3-2 defeat at Barnsley last Friday night, as he prepared for his first taste of international experience in Morocco.

And the 19-year-old crowned his big moment with a goal, in Zimbabwe’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Moroccans, who included Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh in their line-up.

Bonne opened the scoring on 19 minutes, by drilling a shot through the keeper’s legs, and he came close to an equaliser late in the game, in this friendly, when firing a shot narrowly over the bar.

Ipswich-born Bonne was in the Ipswich Town ranks for several years, up to under-14 level, before going on to continue his apprenticeship at Colchester.

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He has since graduated from the U’s Academy and, in addition to being a member of the first team squad, he has caught the eye of the Zimbabwe international selections – his parents are Zimbabwean.

Eligible to play for either England or Zimbabwe, Bonne took the decision to make himself available for Zimbabwe from this summer, ahead of their quest to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

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To date, Bonne has made 15 league appearances for the U’s, although 13 of these have been as a substitute. He has bagged a couple of league goals, in the home wins over Peterborough and MK Dons last season, while also scoring in the FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United.

He has only made one senior appearance this campaign, as a 66th minute substitute in the 2-1 home defeat by Port Vale at the start of this month.

Bonne is the latest in a line of Colchester players to have enjoyed international recognition.

These include former U’s assistant manager Mark Kinsella, who was a regular for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s during the early 1990s as a midfielder. Following his move to Charlton (in 1996), Kinsella went on to win 48 senior caps.

Former U’s full-back Greg Halford, while on the Layer Road books, represented England at Under-20 level.

Halford played for his country in the Toulon Tournament during the summer of 2005. Among other ex-U’s players to grace the international stage, centre-halves Chris Coyne (2008-09) and Efe Sodje (2000) were both selected for their countries, Australia and Nigeria respectively, while on Colchester United’s books.

Striker Mike Masters, just a few weeks after playing his final game for the U’s, in their Conference/FA Trophy double-winning campaign of 1991-92, made his one and only appearance for the United States in June, 1992.

Ten years later Lomana Lua Lua, who dazzled U’s fans during his spell at Layer Road from 1998 to 2000, made his debut for Democratic Republic of Congo (in 2002) while plying his trade at Newcastle United.

A few years later, Hungarian international defender Bela Balogh spent a few months on loan with the U’s, during their second and final season in the Championship. Balogh played 17 games for the U’s in that 2007-08 campaign, having won eight of his nine caps in 2007.

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