Karl Duguid admits he would love to pull on a Colchester United shirt again.
But the U’s player-coach believes the club’s younger players deserve their opportunity to shine in League One.
Duguid, 35, is still registered as a player at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, which he combines with his senior coaching role.
And some supporters have called for the U’s Hall of Fame inductee to be recalled to first-team playing duties, in the wake of the club’s recent injury crisis.
But while Duguid admits he is still hoping to turn out again for Joe Dunne’s side, the experienced utility man says Colchester’s young players represent their future.
He said: “I’d love to play - there’s no doubt about that.
“It would be great to pull on the Col U shirt again, because there’s really nothing better than playing in front of the fans.
“I’m sure it will happen and I hope that moment comes again but it’s all about the younger players.
“They deserve their chance - that’s what it’s all about at our club now.”
Duguid, who is one of Colchester’s all-time leading appearance-makers having played 475 games during his two spells with the club, has not played a competitive senior league game for the U’s for nearly a year.
His last taste of League One action came when he played in their 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury Town, last October.
“I’ve not trained a lot over the last few weeks, because the coaching has been a big part,” added Duguid, who is currently taking his Uefa B Licence coaching qualification.
“We have some good young players coming through and they’re different types of player now.
“We have young lads who are specialist players, who can come in and do a job for the team.”
U’s boss Dunne admits that he has not thought about recalling Duguid to the U’s squad, despite the club’s recent injury crisis.
He said: “Karl is getting his mileage now in coaching and he’s not an option I’ve considered.
“It would be very unfair to ask Karl to ask him to steady the ship, given the fact that he doesn’t train every day.
“What Karl has to do is use his experience to help the younger players, just like people like Clinton Morrison, Jabo Ibehre, David Wright and Magnus Okuonghae.
“They’ve been crucial for us, in terms of what they give us in the dressing room.”
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