Alex Gilbey has revealed Joe Dunne was a major factor behind his decision to commit himself to Colchester United.
The 19-year-old has ended several months of uncertainty about his future by agreeing to a new contract with the U’s.
Gilbey has signed a two-and-a-half year deal to remain at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, until at least 2016.
Dunne gave the former U’s youth-team skipper his senior debut at Colchester, where the midfielder has become a regular starter in League One this season.
And Gilbey, whose previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, said the U’s boss was the main reason he decided to stay put.
Gilbey said: “The manager influenced the whole of my decision to sign the contract.
“I’ve known him for a good few years now and I know that he believes in me.
“It was because of him that I signed and the fact that I’ve been in the starting line-up this season shows that he believes in me.
“That’s what I needed and as a young player, I want to play first-team football.
“I want to make a name for myself at Colchester and there then might be the opportunity to move on.
“This is the club to do that and the gaffer believes in me, so I’m ready to do that.
“This is the place I want to be and this is the gaffer I want to play under.”
Gilbey insists he had no qualms about signing his new contract, despite the delay in him committing his future to the U’s.
“There was no doubt at all about me signing,” added Gilbey, who came on as a half-time substitute for Colchester in their 4-2 win at Carlisle United.
“It takes a long time to sort a contract out and it doesn’t just happen overnight.
“It’s gone on now for a good few months but I’m so glad that it’s done and dusted.
“I’m happy, my representatives are happy and the club are happy so now it’s a case of “bring it on”.
“I’m over the moon to have got the contract sorted.
“I’m really looking forward to the next few years and I’m ready to push on.
“It’s the right club for me and now I’m looking forward to the future.”
For all of the latest Colchester United news, including an interview with latest U's signing Sam Walker and goalkeeper coach Ademola Bankole, see Wednesday's Daily Gazette.