U’s teenage duo earn the Wright praise from Ward

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward has been impressed with the pre-season contributions of two of his talented teenagers, Alex Gilbey and Drey Wright.

Both Gilbey and Wright enjoyed a run-out against West Ham, as second-half substitutes in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to the Hammers.

Gilbey looked a cool customer in central midfield, defying his still tender 17 years, while attacking midfielder Wright grazed a post with a long-range shot late on.

Ward explained: “They’ve had a great week, especially as they didn’t think they were going to be off to Holland (last week’s training camp).

“Now they’ve played at Vitesse Arnhem, and against West Ham, so they must think Christmas has come early for them.


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“At 17, they are both good prospects. Drey (Wright) looked lively when he came on and Alex (Gilbey) has come in and said – give me the ball all the time.”

Of the U’s overall performance, and the day as a whole, Ward said: “I was really pleased with it. I think the whole day has been fantastic.

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“West Ham came here and entertained us. It was a good game of football and there was a big crowd. We’ve also picked up no injuries.

“We didn’t want to suddenly go three or four goals down, because the whole afternoon would have collapsed a little bit, even in pre-season, so we scored our goal at a good time.

“We needed to be tougher here (central defence), but I had a 20-year-old centre-half (Tom Eastman) and a guy (Magnus Okuonghae) who has only trained for a week in there.

“They’ll be better for it. It’s good to practise against better players, and we’ve had that today.”

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