Top marks for Drey

Drey Wright tussles with Curtis Thompson

Drey Wright tussles with Curtis Thompson - Credit: Archant

MARK Kinsella certainly fulfilled his early promise, during a glittering playing career at international and club level.

And now Colchester United’s assistant manager, in harness with boss Joe Dunne, is focused on unearthing similar young gems.

In Kinsella’s opinion, the U’s already have a big player-of-the-future, in 17-year-old Drey Wright.

Flying winger Wright, who celebrates his 18th birthday in 11 days time, has already made quite an impact during his first season at professional level.

The son of former Ipswich Town stalwart Jermaine Wright, young Drey has bagged three goals in 22 outings to play his part in propelling the U’s towards League One safety.

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If Wright achieves half of what Kinsella achieved, on the pitch, then a big future lies ahead of him.

And the U’s 40-year-old No. 2 recalls how he had to learn quickly, as a raw teenager at Colchester in the late 1980s, just like Wright has had to do this year, in terms of a relegation dogfight.

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“I came over here 24 years ago, as a 16-17-year-old, was thrown straight in and we got relegated into non-league football,” explained Kinsella, with reference to the U’s relegation into the Conference in 1990.

“For Drey (Wright), it has been just as much an eye-opener.

“He has learnt the hard way this year. In fact, he has probably had five years of football in one year!

“Thrown in at the deep end, Drey has had a run of games and added goals to his performances. On the whole, he has been top drawer.

“He loves football, he loves training, and he wants to do well. He loves the club personally, although he will want to play at a higher level.”

“Drey seems unfazed by it all, and I think that goes down to the gaffer. He doesn’t put any pressure on the players,” added Kinsella.

Dublin-born Kinsella, who was appointed the U’s No. 2 by new boss Dunne last September, earned 48 caps for Republic of Ireland as a classy midfielder.

The U’s entertain Shrewsbury in their final home game of the season tomorrow, looking for a win to guarantee their League One status for another year.

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