FORMER Colchester United favourite Tom Lapslie has signed for National League club Torquay United.

The tenacious midfielder, who was one of a host of players to leave the U's in May, is one of a number of new signings for the Gulls.

Lapslie joined Colchester’s academy at the age of 16 and progressed through the Florence Park youth ranks.

He became a prominent performer for Colchester’s under-18s, helping them to a Youth Alliance Cup double in 2014.

Lapslie made his senior debut in an FA Cup third-round tie at Cardiff City, in January 2015.

He went on to become a regular in midfield, under several different managers.

Lapslie enjoyed a particular career highlight last season when he scored Colchester’s winning spot-kick in their memorable Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out triumph over Premier League giants Spurs.

The combative midfielder made 170 league and cup senior appearances for the U’s but last season, they all came behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to the Gazette after his U's exit in May, Lapslie admitted it was tough to leave the JobServe Community Stadium but was looking forward to his new challenge.

Lapslie said: “It’s tough; it’s the only thing I’ve known for the last ten years.

“The goal was to get myself into the youth team, then the 23s team, then the first team, just to play one game.

“The goals are constantly moving and changing but the one thing I’ve told myself throughout the years is to give my all every day and then I can look back on it all and say I have no regrets, I’ve done everything I could and I’ve given everything I have for myself and for the club.

“The only regret I do have is that the fans weren’t there for my final season at Colchester and I never really got to have a last game in front of the fans.

“Hopefully one day I can come back and play against Colchester and that will be a nice occasion.

“It’s nice to hear people wishing me well and that people are disappointed that I won’t be pulling on a Colchester shirt again, next season.

“But that’s football and the decision has been made – these things happen.

“I have to accept that now and I wish the club and the fans every success.

“I can’t look at it with too much regret - I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

“I do look forward to coming back at some point and I hope that when that day comes, I don’t get the customary boos!

“I’m not asking for celebrations but a little ripple of applause would be nice!”