George Elokobi hails Colchester United’s full debutant Cameron James’ display as ‘tremendous’

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

Defensive stalwart George Elokobi, who bagged a sensational winner for Colchester United in Tuesday night’s vital 1-0 home win over Wycombe Wanderers, has predicted a very “bright future” for his centre-half partner, Cameron James.

Teenager James was handed his full senior debut by manager John McGreal, and he rose to the occasion by impressing in the heart of defence to help secure a clean-sheet, and in the process propel the U’s into the League Two play-off zone.

Academy product James had made three substitute appearances for the U’s, but the 19-year-old had never started a senior game. He responded by delivering a remarkably mature performance.

“Cameron (James) showed maturity beyond his years,” insisted veteran defender Elokobi.

“He’s been working hard in training, and with the under-23s, and I think he has matured a lot.

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“He’s been in and around the first team this season, and then when the players came back (from injury) he dropped out of it, but he was not forgotten and he continued to be around the squad.

“Cameron came in for his first start and he did very well. He has a very bright future at this football club.

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“Full credit to him for coming in and doing a professional job. He’s got a whole career ahead of him, so long as he keeps working hard.

“And credit to Wayne Brown (under-23s lead coach) as his mentor. The gaffer (McGreal) was also not scared to bring him in for a game of this magnitude, so I’m very pleased for him. I thought he was tremendous.

“The big man Ade Akinfenwa was a threat in the air throughout the game, but we all stuck together and credit to the young boy for coming in and doing himself proud,” added Elokobi.

Elokobi’s fantastic 13th minute strike, from 25 yards out, was complemented by a first clean-sheet in eight games, since a 2-0 home win over Cheltenham on January 2.

“I’m just as proud of the clean-sheet as I am of my goal,” insisted Elokobi.

“I love keeping clean-sheets as a defender, and it was a real team effort. It just wasn’t about my goal. But the hard work starts now. We are in the top seven, but we must not let up.”

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