Jermaine Wright is a proud man after his son Drey made his professional debut for Colchester United .

And the former Ipswich Town star has urged the teenager to seize any further opportunities he gets with both hands.

Drey made his first senior start when he played for Colchester in their 3-0 defeat at Yeovil Town, in the Capital One Cup.

The 17-year-old enjoyed an impressive pre-season with the U’s and has forced his way into U’s manager John Ward’s first-team plans.

Jermaine knows what it takes to be a professional footballer, having enjoyed a successful career with the likes of Town, Leeds United and Southampton.

He made more than 450 league and cup appearances during his career and has urged son Drey to keep working hard.

He said: “I’m proud to see my son out there playing.

“This is the beginning for him now and he just has to take the opportunity he has with both hands.

“Drey has a level head on his shoulders and he’s a grounded kid.

“He just wants to be a footballer and I wish him all the best.

“I’m over the moon at the way that things have gone for him.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds and he was over the moon to get his professional contract earlier this summer, as were the whole family.

“I keep trying to remind him that it’s the beginning - it doesn’t mean anything yet.

“He just has to keep himself in the frame and bang on the door.

“You just have to do your best and enjoy it.

“He plays with a smile on his face and he loves playing with the first team.”

See Thursday's Gazette for more on this story and all of the latest Colchester United news.