U’s teenager Gilbey relishes Wembley trip

Alex Gilbey

Alex Gilbey - Credit: Archant

TEENAGER Alex Gilbey has had a dream first season as a professional, and he is hoping to cap it all with a victory at Wembley this Sunday.

Gilbey has not looked back, since signing his first professional deal in February, 2012, just one year into his two-year scholarship at Colchester United.

He began this season enjoying a first taste of the senior scene with the U’s, making his debut at Northampton last October, and is ending it at loan club Newport County, with a trip to Wembley!

The 18-year-old central midfielder has already played a key role in guiding Newport to this Blue Square Premier play-off final, an all-Welsh affair against Wrexham.

He set up the winner in the second leg of the semi-final against Grimsby Town – Newport won 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate – and will be looking to make a similar impression this Sunday.

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“It’s a massive game for the club,” insisted Gilbey.

“I’ve had a great season, I’ve been learning all the time, and I think I’ve become a far better player in such a short space of time.

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“It will be a big thing to help Newport County regain their Football League status, to be a part of their history.

“There’s the added spice of it being a Welsh derby. The club has been on a high, ever since I’ve been here,” added Gilbey.

Dagenham-born Gilbey initally found it tough to settle in such strange surroundings – south Wales is a very long way from north Essex.

But he now feels at home, and is ready to grace the Wembley turf before his return to Colchester.

“It was very tough to begin with, being a long way from home. But it’s made me grow up as a person, both on and off the pitch.

“I must thank (Colchester) manager, Joe Dunne, for giving me this chance and for believing in me. It was Joe who gave me my debut, and he has always been very positive.

“I’ve had to adapt to life in the Conference, but I’ve started virtually every game and think I’m getting stronger and stronger.

“The pace of football in the Conference is very fast and very physical, but it’s a good learning curve for me.”

A product of the U’s Academy, Gilbey was naturally delighted, and relieved, to learn of his parent club’s 2-0 win at Carlisle United last weekend to safeguard their League One status for another season.

“I was on my iPod and on my tele trying to follow the Colchester score,” revealed Gilbey.

“And hearing that Colchester had beaten Carlisle, to stay in League One, was the best moment ever for me!

“I’m so looking forward to coming back to Colchester, and really fighting for my position in the team next season, and for years to come hopefully.

“I’ve got every respect for Joe, and I’m so relieved that the club has avoided dropping into League Two,” added Gilbey, who played four games for the U’s before moving on loan to Newport in March.

The old Newport County were relegated out of the Football League in 1988, and went out of business the following year.

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