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Jon Waldron: My views on the U's
There have been plenty of good things said and written about Colchester United’s young players over recent months and rightly so.
The elevation of the likes of Alex Gilbey, Drey Wright and Macauley Bonne from academy to first-team level is both promising and exciting.
It is something that the U’s can be proud of and it is hoped that this is only the beginning of their rise to prominence.
Without doubt, the key to Colchester’s long-term future lies within their youth system; how successful the pathway is over the coming years will play a big part in determining how well the club does in the Football League.
But the U’s cannot progress with young players alone.
That is why they need to find a balance between youth and experience, something they did perfectly at Boundary Park.
The fact that the U’s win over Oldham Athletic came on the back of the return of Brian Wilson, Marcus Bean and David Wright to their starting line-up was no coincidence.
They, along with the likes of Jabo Ibehre, Magnus Okuonghae and Clinton Morrison, provided the balance that was essential for a deserved win.
Indeed, if the U’s are to continue to pick up points and stay away from relegation trouble, the players in their squad who have tasted all of the trials and tribulations of the professional game will be crucial in helping them do so.
For a team to be successful at any level, it needs to have a blend of different qualities and assets.
At Liverpool, for every Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson there is a Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson; ditto at Chelsea, where the likes of Ryan Bertrand and Eden Hazard are complemented by John Terry and Frank Lampard.
When Colchester won 2-0 at Brunton Park on the final day of last season to stay in League One, seven of their starting line-up were aged 26 or over.
And while the likes of Bonne and Gilbey can undoubtedly play their part in helping the U’s avoid a similar scenario this season, their peers seemingly have an equally important role in deciding their club’s fate.
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