SAMSON Tovide deserved to make his Football League debut for Colchester United.

That's the view of U's head coach Hayden Mullins, after the teenage striker made his first-ever appearance league appearance.

Tovide, who became the U's fourth youngest-ever debutant last season, came on as an 82nd minute substitute for Frank Nouble in Colchester's 2-0 defeat at Tranmere Rovers, on Friday night.

It was the 17-year-old's third senior appearance for Colchester, with the young forward having registered his maiden first-team start in the Papa John's Trophy against West Ham United under-21s, at the end of last month.

Mullins said: “It was a big moment for Samson.

“He’s been training really well and has done well with the 23s so he deserved his chance.

“Frank worked himself into the ground – he worked his socks off and we needed to freshen it up there and get someone up there with Freddie (Sears) with just a bit more pace and a little bit of that youthful exuberance and try to work off something."

Meanwhile, Mullins says Chay Cooper also deserves to be in and around Colchester's first-team set-up after impressing at Florence Park.

The 19-year-old midfielder was an unused substitute in the U's defeat at Tranmere, having made his professional debut for them against West Ham United under-21s last month.

Mullins said: “Chay’s a young lad who’s been doing well in the 23s and he’s trained with us a couple of times and done well.

“We’ve given him a game against West Ham in the Papa John’s Trophy and he played well, he deserves to be around it which he will be.

“If there’s ever an opportunity where we feel it’s the right time for him to go in, we’ll drop him in.

“He played really well and we were pleased with the way he went about things.

“He’s up against some really good players in that area but he can use that and learn from that.

“He’s in a competitive area of the pitch but he can play.

“The beauty of Chay is that he can play in the middle of a three, he can play as a ten and he can play in the wide area as well, so he can float in and around three or four different areas of the pitch which is good.

“If the younger players do have an opportunity to train or be in and around it, they have to do it right and take their opportunity.

“That’s what I’ve been pleased with, with both the West Ham and Gillingham games."