John Ward hails Kem Izzet on eve of Testimonial

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward has praised Kem Izzet, for his longevity and terrific service to one club, on the eve of the midfielder’s Testimonial this Saturday.

Ward has every respect for his tigerish club captain Izzet, who is looking forward to hosting his own Testimonial at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, with so many familiar old faces on show.

“It is such a rarity for a player to make more than 400 appearances for one club, in this day and age,” explained Ward.

“Especially when I think of all the agents who get involved these days. I’ve received so many calls from agents already this week!

“Young players like Bradley Hamilton and Jordan Sanderson should look up to someone like Kemi, and what he has achieved. He is a great example of how you should be as a footballer.

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“Kem is a family man, he is settled, and he gives his all to one club,” added Ward.

Izzet is set to sign a new contract this summer, having already chalked up more than 400 league appearances for the U’s since his arrival from Charlton in 2001.

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Meanwhile, four of Colchester United’s up-and-coming young players signed new contracts yesterday.

Teenage keeper Shaun Phillips, and wingers Tosin Olufemi and Ryan Melaugh, have all signed their first professional deals, lasting for two years, and so will now be pushing for inclusion in John Ward’s senior squad.

The fourth, midfielder Bradley Hamilton, has also put pen to paper on a new one-year contract, having made his first-team debut as a substitute during the U’s last home game of the season, against Tranmere Rovers.

In addition, attacker Drey Wright, the son of former Ipswich Town midfielder Jermaine Wright, has also been offered a professional deal. He has only just finished the first year of his youth team apprenticeship.

Finally, the U’s will host Championship club Derby County in a pre-season friendly on Friday, August 3.

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