UPDATE: 18-year-old defender Frankie Kent is just loving life at Colchester United having just signed a three-and-half-year extension on his contract as he continues to impress U’s boss Tony Humes
From fresh from an excellent display at the centre of the Colchester United defence on Saturday, in the 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe, 18-year-old U’s defender Frankie Kent is still relishing the opportunity given to him by manager Tony Humes.
Kent’s first start for the U’s came in the 3-2 defeat against Sheffield United in mid-September following club-captain Magnus Okuonghae’s four-match suspension, and the U’s youth academy product hasn’t looked back since – after helping the club propel towards mid-table under the reign of Humes.
Even now, with the intimidating figure of Okuonghae back on the scene, the youngster, who was recently rewarded with a three-and-a-half year extension on to his contract that was set to expire at the end of the season, is continuing to impress – keeping the giant centre-half firmly on the substitutes bench.
Saturday was the prime example. From the first whistle to the last, Kent was excellent, putting in a mature and faultless display in front of an intimidating crowd away from home.
“I thought I did alright, not too bad,” said the modest youngster afterwards.
“I’m just trying to keep my form up, to try and keep my place in the team, which thankfully over the last couple of weeks I have been.”
Kent has certainly rewarded U’s boss Humes’ trust in him, with the manager delighted at the youngster’s progress, but at the same time, not getting carried away.
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“It’s tough for Frankie, he’s learning every game, he’s coming off blowing at the end,” added Humes.
“He’s being moved, he’s playing against experienced players in terms of Rory Fallon who’s going to cause aerial problems he’s got to deal with.
“There’s problems for Frankie to learn from every game and the more opportunity he gets, the better he’ll get so we’re really pleased with how he’s doing.
“Magnus (Okuonghae) has just got to bide his time, obviously he’s not going to be happy - but in some ways it’s a nice position for us to be in.”
Next to Tom Eastman, the duo have gelled, Kent adding: “I love playing with Tom, I think we work well together.
“We like to have the ball at our feet as well (as aerial), and don’t mind getting stuck in.”
A mishap in the 78th-minute from Eastman allowed Paddy Madden the chance to score for Scunthorpe, but back-tracking Kent was on hand to save his partner’s blushes as referee Coote waved away Madden’s in vain penalty appeals.
Asked what happened to recover the situation, the youngster replied: “I don’t know really, it went a bit quick!
“In the back of your mind, you’re thinking ‘don’t bring him down’ because it’s a penalty and a red card, so I try and put him under as much pressure as I can and thankfully it all worked out.”
Kent is set to retain his place against visiting Chesterfield this evening.