LUKE Gambin says he is eager to combine a Colchester United promotion push with his ongoing international commitments, this season.

The 27-year-old returned to the U’s starting line-up this week, fresh from having starred for Malta in their UEFA Nations League games against Latvia and Faroe Islands.

Gambin’s involved for Malta in the Group One matches resulted in him missing Colchester’s Carabao Cup defeat at Reading, last weekend.

And the former Barnet attacker looks set to miss further U’s matches this season, with Malta’s next round of Nations League matches against Andorra and Latvia taking place next month.

Gambin, who played for nearly 80 minutes of Colchester’s EFL Trophy opener at Portsmouth on Tuesday night, says he is keen to reach a club and country compromise.

Gambin told BBC Essex: “It’s really tough for me because playing for my country and playing in League Two, there’s no international break for me.

“I don’t want to miss games for this club, because I enjoy playing here.

“I played two games of 90 minutes on the Thursday and the Sunday, flew home on Monday morning, had some rest and spoke to the gaffer (Steve Ball) and said I wanted to be involved (against Portsmouth).

“I’m glad he selected me – I feel good.

“It’s been a busy few days but I spoke to the manager and said if I was in the plans to play, I wanted to be involved and get straight to it.

“I was aware that this (busy time) was going to happen, even when we were in lockdown and you have to wait and keep yourself fit.

“I run and work hard and I’m just happy to play and be back for the team.

“We have a new manager and new staff there (with Malta) and they’ve been really good to me.

“The manager (Devis Mangia) has said he knows my situation in England and they’re going to try and both work together, so that we can maybe come to a compromise.

“Most leagues have the international break but League Two carries on and I don’t want to miss too many games.”

Gambin has already set his sights on helping Colchester achieve a winning start to the new League Two season.

The U’s start their 2020-21 league campaign with a trip to Bradford City on Saturday and Gambin says they are relishing the prospect of a trip to Valley Parade.

He said: “We’ve had some tough games to start with but that’s something that we thrive on and the gaffer’s mentioned that.

“You want to play against tough opposition.

“It’s early days and a long season; I’m sure we’ll be up there around it.

“The hardest thing in football is to win games and score goals but we have the players in the side to do it.

“The young players coming up are really impressive and I know that this side has a winning mentality – we’ve shown that last year.

“What the manager wants to do at this club I think is the right thing – we’ve all got to believe in it and I think we’ll achieve something.”