Veteran Lloyd Doyley predicts a very bright future for young Colchester United team-mate Frankie Kent
Lloyd Doyley, with 400 league games under his belt, is well-equipped to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of fellow defenders.
And ex-Watford stalwart Doyley, who is set to start for Colchester United at home to Barnet this afternoon, due to Tom Eastman’s ankle injury, is full of admiration for young team-mate Frankie Kent.
Academy product Kent delivered one of his best displays in a Colchester shirt, in his role as a sweeper, during last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool.
Now 34-year-old Doyley is set play alongside 21-year-old Kent today, together with George Elokobi in a three-man defence.
“When I first came to the club, I started playing with Frankie in the Under-23s,” explained Doyley.
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“I played with him for a couple of games, and I thought straight away – ‘he’s a good player!’
“Then I realised that he played most of last season, so he had that experience of playing in the first team.
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“Frankie had to wait as well, waiting for his opportunity, like I have had to do. Then we changed formation, which helped him.
“Playing in that’s sweeper’s role has benefited him. When you are playing three at the back, it helps.
“I’ve always liked playing three at the back, and for the last four or five years I have played in a three-man defence. I’m quite comfortable in that system.
“I enjoy it and I think it gives you a little more time on the ball, as well as giving you extra cover, and I think that has helped Frankie.
“It has enabled him to read the game a lot better. It’s a good grounding for him.
“If you work hard and show the boss what you are capable of doing, then you will get the opportunity.
“He’s a very good player, and he has a bright future ahead of him,” added Doyley.
Doyley should make his home debut today, having only made a couple of appearances on the road since his arrival last October.
“If I play then it will be my home debut, but that doesn’t faze me anymore,” continued Doyley. “It doesn’t make a difference to me, home or away.”
On today’s opponents, Doyley said: “Barnet are normally down there, near the bottom, struggling nearly every year, but this season they have stepped up a lot.”