Ward says Ladapo isn’t the answer

Exciting teenage striker Freddie Ladapo won’t be receiving a first team call up to the Colchester United first team for this Saturday’s League One opener at Exeter following his two goal heroics in the Essex Senior Cup final.

EXCITING teenage striker Freddie Ladapo won’t be receiving a first team call up to the Colchester United first team for this Saturday’s League One opener at Exeter following his two goal heroics in the Essex Senior Cup final.

The 17-year-old single-handedly won the match against AFC Hornchurch on Tuesday night, scoring an impressive solo equaliser within seconds of coming off the bench on the hour mark before lashing home the winner in the 72nd minute.

And with Colchester manager John Ward currently light in the striker department at present, there has been an immediate clamour from U’s fans for the powerful youngster to be fast-tracked into the first team set-up.

However, the U’s boss says he won’t rush into promoting the exciting prospect.


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“Freddie did very well against Hornchurch and deservedly took the plaudits, but a good 30 minutes doesn’t suddenly make him ready,” said Ward.

“There is a lot of talent in our youth team at the moment and we will continue to look after them and try to bring them on as best we can.”

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London-born Ladapo started out his career at Southend United but the ambitious youngster made the decision to leave the Essex outfit at the start of last season in an attempt to obtain a place at a major club.

Trials followed at Liverpool, Glasgow Rangers and Blackburn Rovers, but on each occasion no deal was forthcoming.

Eventually he signed for Colchester at the turn of the year and, after immediately scoring a hatful of goals in the youth team, he was promoted to an experienced reserve side.

“The clubs I was on trial at didn’t think I was technically good enough,” said Ladapo. “So I’d just like to thank Joe Dunne for giving me the chance to be here at Colchester.

“I just love to show what I’m all about – scoring goals.

“Hopefully if I keep doing that then I can make the manager think about his decisions when it comes to picking the starting line-up.”

U’s boss Ward currently has just two recognised strikers in his first team squad in the form of Kayode Odejayi and Steven Gillespie following the summer departures of Clive Platt, Kevin Lisbie, Scott Vernon and Joel Thomas from the club.

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