Colchester United goalkeeper Dillon Barnes can go a ‘long way’ in the game, according to his former goalkeeper coach Ademola Bankole.

Barnes has started the League Two season in John McGreal’s starting line-up and has made an impressive start to life as the U’s new number one.

The 22-year-old has played his part in helping Colchester concede just five goals in their opening seven league matches - currently the third-best defensive record in the division.

And Bankole, who coached Barnes for two years before leaving the U’s last summer, says the former Fulham youngster can be a success – provided he stays on track.

Bankole told the Daily Gazette: “I’m happy that Dillon is playing.

“At the age he is, he still has lots to learn.

“But if he’s managed properly, I think he’ll go a long way.

“As a goalkeeper, you need physical as well as mental courage.

“The mental side of it is very important, especially for goalkeepers.

“You only have to look at the careers of the likes of David James, Joe Hart and Paul Robinson to see that.

“We are human beings but if you do the right things, you can be successful.”

Bankole left Colchester in July 2017, following nine years at the JobServe Community Stadium.

He was initially brought to the club by Geraint Williams in 2008, working with the likes of Ben Williams, Mark Cousins and Sam Walker.

“I spent a long time at Colchester and it was a good club to be at,” said Bankole.

“It was a good experience for me and that’s something you can’t buy – it’s a part of you.

“I worked with some good managers like Paul Lambert, Aidy Boothroyd, George Williams, Joe Dunne, Tony Humes and John Ward.

“I was sad to leave but everything happens for a reason – life continues and I’m happy.

“I wish Colchester all the best and life goes on.”

Bankole is now working for QPR as their academy goalkeeper, coaching the Championship club’s under-16 and under-18 players.

The 49-year-old also works with the Guyana national team as goalkeeper coach and has just returned from a ‘train and play’ trip to Brazil with the Golden Jaguars.

“I’m loving it at QPR,” added Bankole, who had a spell with Rangers as a player between 1998 and 2000.

“It’s a different challenge for me and I’m really enjoying it.

“There are lots of talented young players at the club.

“It’s also a blessing working for the Guyana national team and it’s a different scenario, when you’re talking to international players.”