Tom Lapslie says he cannot wait to return to action with Colchester United – and carry on where he left off last season.

The combative midfielder enjoyed his most productive campaign for the U’s last year, clocking up 40 league and cup appearances and landing the club’s Young Player of the Year accolade.

Lapslie is likely to be a key component of John McGreal’s side when they embark on another League Two season, beginning with a trip to Accrington Stanley on August 5.

And the 21-year-old academy product says he is counting down the days until the big kick-off.

Lapslie told the Daily Gazette: “I can’t wait to get out there again.

“I’m learning with every season I play and the more games I can get under my belt, the better my performances will be.

“It was a great honour to win the Young Player of the Year award last season, especially with all of the other great young players we have at Colchester.

“Last season was another one under my belt.

“I played 40 games which I was pleased with and it’s been the same for the likes of Drey Wright, Frankie Kent and Cameron James who are all young guys who have come through the season with a lot of games under their belt.

“I’m really pleased with how last season went for me, overall.

“I was obviously a bit disappointed to pick up the injury against Blackpool but these things happen.

“I only missed eight games in the end and after that, the only match that I missed was the Morecambe one.”

Colchester will be striving for at least a top-seven finish this season, having narrowly missed out on a play-off place last time around.

The U’s fell a point short but finished the campaign on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, despite a host of injuries to key players.

“We just missed out on the play-offs on the final day but I think that it was a successful season for us,” said Lapslie, who made his senior Colchester debut in January 2015.

“We can’t allow ourselves to get too down about not getting into the play-offs.

“We finished six unbeaten and hopefully we can start the new season flying.

“Our home form was incredible from Christmas onwards, so if we can keep that up and also get a few wins away from home too, that will stand us in good stead.”

McGreal is preparing for his second campaign as the U’s head coach and Lapslie says he has enjoyed playing for the former Ipswich Town defender, who also coached him at academy level.

Lapslie added: “I really enjoyed playing under the manager, last season.

“He’s put a fair bit of faith in me and I’m very grateful for what he’s done.”