SAMSON Tovide is one of the latest 'exciting' batch of talented youngsters emerging from the Colchester United academy.

That's the view of U's boss Steve Ball, after the young attacking midfielder became the club's fourth youngest-ever debutant on Tuesday night.

Tovide came on as a second-half substitute in Colchester's emphatic 6-1 triumph over Southend United in the Papa John's Trophy, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

At the age of 16 years and 311 days old, Tovide's appearance off the bench for hat-trick hero Jevani Brown put him in the list of the club's youngest-ever senior appearance makers.


Todd Miller is Colchester's youngest-ever senior debutant, having made his first appearance for the club at Exeter City at the age 16 years and 166 days old in March, 2019.

Lindsay Smith, who made his debut against Grimsby Town in April 1971 at the age of 16 years and 214 days, is the U's second-youngest debutant.

And Tom Bender (16 years 243 days) is third in the list, following his senior debut against Hartlepool United in September, 2009.

Tovide, who hit the crossbar soon after coming on against Southend, has been a substitute for Colchester's first team on several occasions this season, without coming off the bench.

But now the teenager has made his senior bow and boss Ball says the future looks bright for Tovide and the U's.

Ball said: “There’s some real good talent in our group.

“Samson came on for his debut at the age of 16 and it’s great for the kid.

“He showed his pace, power and quality.

“He was really unlucky not to score with his shot that hit the bar, just before Noah (Chilvers) scored.

“He’s only a young boy but he’s another of the talented young players we have here.

“It’s really exciting to see these young boys coming through and I do think the club is in the best place it’s been for a long, long time on that front."

Meanwhile, boss Ball believes Michael Folivi's best position is as a number nine, after the U's new signing marked his first start for the club with a goal.

Folivi, who joined the U's earlier this month after leaving Watford, powered in Colchester's fourth goal in their triumph over Southend.

“Michael is still getting his fitness," said Ball.

“He’s scored goals at League One level (on loan at AFC Wimbledon).

“He did well and the great thing is that he can play as a nine, a ten, a seven or an 11.

“He can play in all of the top positions and that’s why he’s such a good signing for us.

“He’s flexible and works hard for the team.

“I think his best position is a nine but at the minute, Jevani (Brown) plays in that position.

“He’s already struck up a nice partnership with JB."