THREE of Colchester United's established academy starlets moved on to higher-placed clubs, this summer.

Sammie Szmodics, Frankie Kent and Kane Vincent-Young all left for pastures new, having become firm favourites at the U's.

The trio have had a gap in first-team action due to the international break, with Szmodics returning to the JobServe Community Stadium last week for the U's Trophy clash with Spurs under-21s.

The Gazette takes a look at how the trio have been faring for their new clubs since leaving Colchester.


First-team appearances for Bristol City to date: 2

The verdict so far from Bristol Live sports journalist Gregor MacGregor:

"Sam played really well in pre-season and caught several supporter's eyes, netting a superb lob in the first game against local side AFC Hallen.

"However, since then he's found it harder to gain first team starts.

"We watched him recently in the U23s and he was played in a false nine position though it didn't work too well on the day - but that was for just one game.

"That followed 70 minutes in the League Cup with a decent display against QPR (3-3, lost on penalties).

"Szmodics then started recently against Swansea City for his first league start - and again seemed to have been pushed further forward.

"Obviously Lee Johnson has seen something on the training ground that he likes there. "In the second half against the Swans he played a little deeper and, able to get on the ball more, he showed more of what we had seen in pre-season: playmaking ability, good close control, intelligent passing, tenacious pressing and finding threatening pockets of space.

"He may have been involved more recently but that he picked up a minor calf strain, before he was back on the bench for the visit of Reading at the weekend.

"Chiefly, his problem is that there is steep competition for a first-team place, with Kasey Palmer having impressed in the attacking midfield position this season, though Callum O'Dowda and Niclas Eliasson have also taken attacking midfield roles of late.

"Off the field, I know that he has struck up a very good friendship with O'Dowda, Josh Brownhill and Taylor Moore - and those four young guys could be the bedrock of City's midfield for years to come if Sam remains patient and waits for his chances.

"I get the impression the head coach is a fan, despite few appearances so far."


First-team appearances for Peterborough United to date: 14

The verdict so far from Peterborough Telegraph sports journalist Alan Swann:

"The 23 year-old centre-back was supposed to be the student alongside experienced master Mark Beevers this season but he’s outshone his promotion-winning partner.

"I felt Kent’s standards slipped a little v Wimbledon when his aerial timing in particular appeared to be off.

"But for several games before that Kent’s composure on the ball, his reading of the game and his tackling ability had led to some excellent marks of 7/10 and over.

"Kent’s display at Tranmere was most encouraging. Posh played poorly that night against aggressive and physically powerful opponents, but Kent dominated the airwaves against a stream of crosses and made one thundering first-half challenge that stopped a decent Tranmere scoring opportunity.

"The youngster is only going to get better. He could be the new Ryan Bennett."


First-team appearances for Ipswich Town to date: 7

The verdict so far from sports writer Phil Ham:

"Kane Vincent-Young has made a huge impression in his short time at Portman Road.

"Indeed, it’s difficult to recall anyone having made such an immediate impact, as his nomination for the League One Player of the Month award attests.

"Hitting the ground running understates it, after only just over a month in League One he already looks like a player well capable of stepping up another level.

"His pacy runs from deep have quickly become an integral part of the Blues’ game, while his step-overs have drawn admiring comparisons with Fabian Wilnis.

"In addition, Vincent-Young has scored two goals, a far-post header which proved to be the winner at Gillingham completing a 25-pass move and a brilliant solo effort running from almost halfway into the area in the 4-1 win against Tranmere.

"He has quickly become a fans’ favourite with most Blues supporters wondering how Town got him for as little as £500,000, why we didn’t sign him when he was on trial last summer, why no one from a higher division firmed up their interest and how long it might be before Town are rebuffing rather bigger bids."