Young Southend United defender Leo Roget has admitted that he has reached the crossroads of his football career.

The 22-year-old, who made his Blues debut in the First Division at the age of 18 after progressing through the club's youth ranks, believes this is the most important season of his life.

"I've had a miserable couple of years with injuries and I want to play as many games as I can this campaign," explained Roget, who has played 66 league and cup matches for Southend.

For the last two seasons, Roget's appearances in Southend's first-team have been hampered by a long term back problem and then hamstring troubles.

However, the Blues stopper is determined to make the Shrimpers' Third Division campaign this year a successful one for both club and player.

"The last few years have been very frustrating because I haven't been able to string a decent run of games together in the team because of injury," said Roget, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

"But I'm hoping that's all behind me now as I want to get at least 40 first-team games under my belt this year.

"This is a big season for me and I've got a lot to prove - hopefully I can steer clear of injury and recapture the form I know I'm capable of."

Roget has enjoyed a solid start to the season alongside Blues skipper Simon Coleman at the heart of Southend's defence - a partnership he says will make him into a better all round performer.

"Coley has played at the highest level and has bags of experience which can only be good for me," Roget added.

"I can learn a lot from Simon on the pitch and he has already been a big help during matches - he keeps me going by barking out orders to keep me alert."

Roget also praised his manager Alan Little, who he said has made the Roots Hall club more "fun".

"Last season the spirit wasn't always good here, but since the gaffer joined us last April the atmosphere has been first class," said Roget, who was being tracked by Dutch champions Feyenoord two years ago.

"The boss is very infectious and has made everything about the club more enjoyable - including training - and his motivational skills are second to none."

Finally, Roget said a big thankyou to the Southend fans who have stuck by him and still noisily back the defender from the terraces.

"The supporters have always been great to me and given me a lot of encouragement, hopefully I can repay them by having a solid, injury-free season with Southend," he concluded.

Season of reckoning - For Leo Roget

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