Shorey: Colchester United kids must learn quickly and be accountable
- Credit: Archant
Veteran defender Nicky Shorey says the U’s cannot use inexperience as an excuse during their testing relegation battle.
Colchester, with one win from their last 21 league games, fielded a squad with an average age of just 24 in last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Port Vale.
Languishing bottom of League One, 10 points adrift of safety, the U’s task gets no easier tomorrow when they host second-top Wigan – the Latics unbeaten in 14 games.
With 81 goals conceded this season and just six wins from 35 league games, the campaign will not be one forgotten in a hurry by several squad members – youngsters such as Jamie Harney, Frankie Kent, Tom Lapslie, Tosin Olufemi, Dion Sembie-Ferris, Kane Vincent-Young and Drey Wright all experiencing plenty of ups and downs during a turbulent campaign.
Former West Ham youngster Harney, for example, made his first professional start in Saturday’s defeat at Vale and was at fault for the first goal, from which United never recovered.
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The error was the latest in a catalogue of mistakes made by the U’s squad this season – too many players have been culpable on several occasions – and while Shorey recognises that inexperience is likely to yield inconsistency, the former England full-back does not believe an air of acceptance should be allowed to creep into the camp.
The 35-year-old defender, is happy to be a “voice” in the dressing room, but insists the club’s younger player need to take just as much responsibility.
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“It does help the lads watching the senior players, you can talk people through games and tell them what to do, but there comes a time when they have to be able to do it,” said Shorey.
“Some of the youngsters are getting to that stage and they have got to start leading the way a bit as well.
“They need to be able to do what they are being sent out to do.
“Hopefully this will be a good experience for them and a grown-up experience for them.
“I am sure it will stand them in good stead, but we need them to be able to do the job now.”
He added: “I am not just talking about the youngsters here, we have all got to do the job we have been sent out to do but as youngsters you stop being a youngster when you get in the first team and are playing regularly.
“You are there to do a job, I think they are learning fast and what I have seen so far at the club, there are a lot of good things happening with the youngsters coming through.
“We need to make sure we are doing it as a collective.”
Shorey joined the U’s on a deal until the end of the season in January, after a spell playing for Pune City in India.
However, despite having played for his country and been a Premier League stalwart, the Romford-born defender has no regrets over joining Kevin Keen’s men.
“Not at all, I came in during the summer and did a bit of work, so I knew the players and the people working at the club,” Shorey added.
“It was never any issue of them struggling, it was more about the working environment at the club, the people you are going to be working with, their attitude.
“If I thought I was not going to enjoy it and that the players here were not going to give it a go, then I probably would not have come to the club.”