COLCHESTER United chairman Robbie Cowling says it was more important than ever to make an internal appointment when unveiling his next head coach.

Former assistant manager Steve Ball has taken the reins and was unveiled as John McGreal's successor on Tuesday afternoon.

The 50-year-old has a long connection with the club, played for them in two spells and undertook various coaching roles.

And Cowling believes he is exactly what the club needs at such a testing time for football, because of the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "We've gone internal again.

"We've found someone inside the club that we want and it was a unanimous decision between myself and the other three directors.

"We interviewed Steve along with other internal candidates. He's been with us for eight years, having started with the Academy.

"He knows the club inside out and he's spent the last four years as assistant manager, so understands the first team.

"It's important for us at the moment to appoint someone who really does know the club, how we have been working and how we want to work going forward.

"Everyone knows these are difficult times.

"Football's going to be on a little bit of a reset and it's important that we do that well and in the right hands.

"As I say, we knew we had a number of good candidates internally that could have stepped up and done the role.

"But with the opportunity that's going to get presented to the club in the next few season, with salary capping, we thought it was really important to accelerate what we've already been doing.

"An internal appointment was therefore more important this time than it's been previously."

After making 75 appearances for the U’s over two spells, Ball returned to the club in a coaching capacity.

He combined this with his role as manager of Leiston, before coming on board full-time to look after the under-15s enrolled at Thurstable School.

In December 2015, when David Wright was promoted to become assistant manager under Kevin Keen, Ball took over as manager of Maldon and Tiptree.

This was a role he combined with being assistant boss to the then under-23s manager, John McGreal.

The duo then took over the reins of the first team four years ago.

Cowling said the club are still in discussions with regard the club's new assistant manager.