THE versatility Noah Chilvers has shown for Colchester United over recent games will benefit the promising youngster’s development, according to interim boss Hayden Mullins.

The talented 20-year-old, who has been at the U's since the age of nine, has impressed in a wide midfield role under Mullins, helping them secure some vital points to stay out of the League Two relegation zone.

Chilvers, who only made his first league start for Colchester on the opening day of the season, has been one of their most regular starters in the 2020-21 campaign.

Only Tommy Smith and Tom Eastman have started more league games than the U’s academy product, this season.

And former Premier League midfielder Mullins believes Chilvers’ impressive performances in different positions will stand him in good stead for the rest of his career.

Mullins said: “It’s good for Noah to play in different positions and not be set in stone.

"For his development, it’s been fantastic.

“He’s been in excellent in getting forward and making chances and he has the licence to go and create.

“He’s a forward-thinking player and he has a goal in him, as well.

“It’s good to get him on the pitch and he plays in a role where out of possession for us, he’s got a job to do when we get it back and with the way we like to play.”

Meanwhile, Mullins says the input of goalkeeping coach Darren Smith has proved beneficial to him, over recent weeks.

Mullins has worked closely with Smith and advisor Paul Tisdale, as they battle to secure Colchester’s League Two status for another season.

“Darren is vastly experienced and he knows the lads really well,” said Mullins, who took temporary charge of the U’s at the end of last month.

“It’s good to have someone like him around.

“He’s a good pair of eyes and he picks up bits that I might miss or may not see or bits of information that we need and he’s always on hand for that.

“He’s a very good talker and he’s very loud – you probably hear him shouting from the bench!

“At times he’s needed and he steps up with information that’s always good.

“He’s been excellent in these last six games and with this mini period, it’s not just me and Tis – there’s Darren, there’s Griff (Performance Analyst Dan Griffiths), the whole staff have been fantastic.

“Everyone’s chipping in, which is really good.”

Colchester host Salford City at the JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday, in their final home game of the season.