Jordan Sanderson has been urged to keep progressing as a player after making a long-awaited appearance for Colchester United last weekend.
The 20-year-old midfielder's appearance as a late substitute in the U's 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient was his first since he made his debut, two years and 298 days earlier.
Sanderson, who is another of the U's academy products, had previously not featured for Colchester in League One since making his senior debut under former boss John Ward in a 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers in May, 2011.
But he has been on the bench for Colchester over recent matches and finally got some minutes on the pitch in the latter stages of their narrow defeat at Brisbane Road.
U's boss Joe Dunne said: “Jordan did very well when he came on at Leyton Orient.
“I’ve had him with me since he was 14 or 15.
“With the way that we play, he’s always been more of a squad player backing up our midfield who’s been waiting for his opportunity.
“He's always been young for his age group because of when his birthday is but I want him to keep progressing as a player.
“Jordan’s strength is when he’s in possession and we’ve played him at centre-back in our under-21 games to try and teach him the defensive side of the game.
“We’ve been playing him out of position and that can help - that’s what you try and do as a manager to help young players.
“But sometimes you have players who aren’t completely ready until they reach the age of around 22 or 23."
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