HAVING started out in Chelsea’s academy, Frank Nouble knows only too well about the trials and tribulations of trying to establish yourself as a young player.

So it is perhaps little wonder that the experienced forward is now happy to pass on his knowledge to the Colchester United youngsters who are taking their first steps in their own pathway in the professional game.

At 28 years old and with more than 300 league and cup appearances behind him at 14 different clubs, Nouble is one of the most experienced players in the current U’s ranks.

There are a plethora of talented young players currently impressing for John McGreal’s squad – and Nouble is keen to stress the need for them be as professional as they can possibly be.

“I’ve taken a lot from starting my career at a Premier League club,” said Nouble, who along with Luke Prosser, Tom Eastman and Dean Gerken has started every league game for Colchester so far, this season.

“I’ve learnt about standards – as I’ve got older, I’ve appreciated that and kept my standards high whether it’s me or my team-mates.

“I try to tell them to do it for themselves – if you do well for yourself, then it will reproduce on a Saturday.

“When you’re around good players, you take the small things.

“You learn the little things and try to put them into your game.

“Whether you’re good enough to do it or not is a different question but I feel like I’ve done that at every club I’ve been at.

“I’ve said to the youngsters here that they’re lucky to be at a club like Colchester United.

“It’s good to see that hunger from a young player who really wants to do well.

“Sammie (Szmodics) went to a Championship club in Bristol City and he’s a great example to all youngsters that if you work hard, you get your chance.

“The chairman (Robbie Cowling) likes that philosophy and wants young players to come through.

“They’re very lucky, because wherever I’ve been at when I was a youngster it wasn’t about youth players.

“It was always about learning from the older players and we’ve got a great mix here.

“We’ve got a lot of younger players in the squad and hopefully we can pass on our experience to them.”

Nouble played with the likes of Scott Sinclair, Patrick van Aanholt, Jeffrey Bruma and Josh McEachran during his time at Chelsea.

But despite being offered a three-year contract by the Blues, he left Stamford Bridge at the age of 16 to join West Ham United in the pursuit of first-team football.

“We had the same amount of talent back then but it was harder to get that opportunity, to get through," said Nouble, who made 19 appearances for the Hammers before leaving to join Wolves in June, 2012.

“That’s why I left to go to West Ham.

“I’d have stayed if I knew that there was more chances for the youngsters.

“It’s frustrating as a youngster when you can’t see a pathway in front of you.

“That’s why even at 16, I shouldn’t have really been given that choice to leave.

“I got offered a three-year contract and I said no, only because I knew that it would be difficult to get close to the first team.

“Even though we were training with the first team, we knew it was tough because they were buying so many foreign players at our age.

“At under-16 level, there were seven or eight players from Brazil and France which was good for us at the time for ability wise and to train well but to come through was difficult.

“There are a lot of the players who are still doing well who were there.

“And I’m buzzing for the players that are doing well now like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.”