Head coach John McGreal believes that Colchester United's blossoming reputation was a major factor in the club attracting a prime Premier League rising talent to the club.

Midfielder Callum Roberts has joined the Essex club from top flight giants Newcastle United on a loan deal until the end of the season and McGreal felt it was a coup to have a player of his calibre with them.

His transfer deadline arrival made the 21-year-old the third new addition - after Abo Eisa and Ben Stevenson were brought in the day before - of the January window for the U's and McGreal praised the work done by their recruitment team.

He feels the trio of new attacking players will give him plenty of attacking options as they bid to reclaim their place in the League Two play-off spots and said it was a reflection of how highly the club were regarded with how big clubs were willing to let their rising stars go on loan there.

McGreal said: “Callum was on the bench the other night for Newcastle (in the Premier League against Manchester City).

“He’s a Premier League player, 21 years of age, who scored in the FA Cup.

“He’ll give us something different and we felt we needed some extra bodies in the top area, because a lot of the boys in those positions have played a lot of minutes.

“Now we’ve got opportunities to change things.

“Callum has already got senior experience and he’s played in the Scottish Prem, too.

“He comes with a really good reputation.

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes, in terms of recruitment, in order to get this one over the line.

“To get a boy of his calibre to come into our league is great and our reputation, and what we’ve got here, was also a big plus for us.

“I’m delighted to have the three boys on board."