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Jon Waldron: My views on the U's
Among the gallery of portraits that adorn the walls at Deepdale sits one of the most recognisable football faces of the modern game.
David Beckham’s loan spell as a fresh-faced teenager at Preston North End provided him with invaluable experience and helped provide the foundation for an immensely successful career.
Last Saturday, two of Colchester United’s own talented young loanees graced the same pitch as Beckham had, nearly two decades ago.
And while emulating the former England captain’s vast achievements might be a tall order for Sam Walker and Luke Garbutt, as it perhaps would any other youngster starting out in the game, their potential is nevertheless shining through in a similar way.
Like Beckham, they are spending time in the lower leagues on loan from a Premier League club.
And also like Beckham, they are both showing the kind of commitment and desire at a young age that is likely to help them go far in the game.
Walker’s heroics in helping Colchester claim an unlikely point at Preston not only served to further confirm his talent; his performance also reiterated the young Chelsea goalkeeper’s strength of character in bouncing back from a mistake against Swindon Town.
And Garbutt’s bersatile display, which was capped by a fine goal, offered further evidence of the Everton youngster’s versatility and considerable ability, not least a wand of a left foot.
With their dedication and professionalism on the training ground, the pair both set a superb example to the numerous young academy players Colchester hope will make their own inroads in the game over the coming years.
With the U’s injury list lengthening again, the likes of Macauley Bonne and Sammie Szmodics could get another opportunity to shine when they host MK Dons tonight.
They could do a lot worse than follow the lead of Walker and Garbutt, whose future in the game looks bright.
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