MIQUEL Scarlett’s league debut for Colchester United has been described as ‘exceptional’ after the youngster’s impressive showing at Walsall.

The 20-year-old made his first league professional start for the U’s at right-back, in their 1-1 draw at the Banks’s Stadium.

Scarlett had previously played in the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy for Colchester, earlier this season.

But his start for the U’s against the Saddlers was his League Two bow after he came into the side for the injured Miles Welch-Hayes and Colchester head coach Steve Ball was impressed with the former Gillingham youngster.

Ball said: “It was a big test for Miquel and I couldn’t probably think of a tougher game physically for him to come into.

“He’s got lots of qualities – he’s really good on the ball and a nice, aggressive little full-back.

“He’s got to work on the physical side because I keep saying it, this league is a relentless, big league with big players, going in direct.

“But I thought he dealt with it really well and for a league debut, I thought he was exceptional.”

Scarlett got his chance against Walsall after Welch-Hayes was ruled out with an injury sustained in Colchester’s 3-3 draw with Oldham Athletic, seven days earlier.

“Miles was close – it’s an impact injury from a tackle in the first half against Oldham where he slid in and their player got carried off, in the end,” said Ball.

“The impact on Thursday and Friday was restricting his movement so we made a call on Friday afternoon.

“Miquel has come in and taken his opportunity and that’s all these young players can do.”

Colchester’s draw with Walsall extended their unbeaten run at the start of the new League Two season to five matches.

It is the first time since 2010 that the U’s have gone unbeaten in their first five league games but boss Ball was disappointed that they could not hold on to win, after Callum Harriott’s opener was cancelled out by Elijah Adebayo’s second-half goal.

Ball added: “I want us to see leads out.

“It’s happened at Barrow, Oldham and now Walsall where we’ve been leading.

“But more importantly than that, I want us to continue playing how we were playing and that is through possession-based, quick play and to hurt teams.

“If we keep on doing that, we’ll win loads of games this season.

“I don’t want to draw games every week, I want to go for the win.

“At half-time (at Walsall) the messages were very clear about that, to go and get a second goal - but there are a lot of positives.”