A YOUNG footballer has admitted attacking a reveller on New Year’s Day.

Colchester United youth and reserve player Alex O’Leary owned up to the assault in court.

The 18-year-old, who is on loan at non-league club Halstead Town, denied a separate charge that he used a glass bottle in the incident, in Eastwood Road, Rayleigh, and this was accepted by the prosecution.

The teenager, who has been a U’s youth player since he was 14, was out in his home town, Rayleigh, celebrating New Year’s Eve when the attack took place.

A 16-year-old boy needed hospital treatment for cuts to his face after he was attacked on January 1 at about 4.40am.

O’Leary is due to return to Basildon Crown Court to be sentenced in the week beginning Monday, May 24.

The U’s declined to comment on the case until O’Leary had been sentenced.

But club spokesman Matt Hudson confirmed the player was not among the trainees selected to stay on with the club when his two-year scholarship ends at the close of the season – a decision made before Friday’s court appearance.

Jimmy Holder, Halstead Town chairman, said O’Leary would not be suspended or let go as a result of the proceedings.

He said: “It won’t have any effect. His behaviour while he has been with us has been exemplary.”

Paul Fawcett, a spokesman for Victim Support, said: “People generally who are in the public eye are often looked up to and others may copy their behaviour.

“Knowing how distressing it is for victims of crime, we certainly don’t want any more.”