Stevenson hailed as a ‘true footballer’ by U’s boss McGreal

Abo Eisa scores Colchester United's second goal in their 4-0 win at Northampton. It was Eisa's U's d

Abo Eisa scores Colchester United's second goal in their 4-0 win at Northampton. It was Eisa's U's debut. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Colchester United’s three new signings all made a big impact, during Saturday’s eye-catching 4-0 victory at Northampton Town, a result which leaves the U’s just one point adrift of the play-off zone.

Abo Eisa and Callum Roberts both dazzled as second-half substitutes, Shrewsbury Town loanee winger Eisa scoring one and setting up another following his 46th minute introduction, while Newcastle United loanee Roberts earned the U’s a penalty during a late cameo.

However, it was the calm and collected performance of the third new recruit, Ben Stevenson, which suggested that the Essex club have improved their squad sufficiently to mount a successful push for promotion.

Former U’s loanee Stevenson, who signed from Premier League club Wolves on a two-and-a-half-year deal last week, before the transfer window slammed shut, delivered a superb 90 minutes in the heart of midfield at Sixfields.

Stevenson delivered the 25th minute corner for Frank Nouble to break the deadlock, and generally pulled the strings in the middle of the park.

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“We knew Ben (from last year’s loan), and he slotted in straight away,” enthused U’s boss John McGreal.

“Ben is a true footballer. (Chairman) Robbie (Cowling) had been on that one for a number of weeks, and for Robbie to get that deal over the line was a massive coup for the club.

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“Ben doesn’t give the ball away.

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“I could have put in all three new signings straight away, but I felt that two of the newer boys needed to see how we perform, because we had only had one true training session before this game.

“It just gives our boys who have got us into this good position that chance, but the training has gone up, the quality and tempo has gone up, as has this (Saturday’s) performance.

“I thought the other boys came into their own. The likes of Frank (Nouble) and Courtney (Senior) upped their games, and that’s maybe down to these new boys.

“Abs (Eisa) is direct, and then young Callum (Roberts) shows what he has been doing at Newcastle. He’s a ready-made replacement, either on the right wing or as a No. 10, as you could see at Northampton.

“It gives us added competition.”

The U’s are at home to Cheltenham Town this Saturday.

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