Elito's pain after Lambert treatment

COLCHESTER United starlet Medy Elito has revealed that former manager, Paul Lambert, never even wanted him to train with the first team.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United starlet Medy Elito has revealed that former manager, Paul Lambert, never even wanted him to train with the first team.

Talented winger Elito, despite playing for England at Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level, and featuring in the Championship for the U's, was completely frozen out by Lambert.

In fact, the 19-year-old was on the verge of leaving the Essex club!

But in a remarkable turn of events, Lambert's sudden departure for Norwich City has brought Elito in from the cold, with his long-term future assured at the Community Stadium.

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“It's been a great turnaround for me. It's good to be back at Colchester United,” insisted Elito.

“I'm looking forward to the future now, and looking forward to kicking on.

“The old manager (Lambert) had other plans for me. He told me that I did not show him enough.

“I was still at the club, but the manager said that he didn't want me training with the team. So I had to train on my own, as well as training at another couple of clubs.

“And I was looking at moving to other clubs, because I believed that I'd never be at Colchester again,” added Elito.

Thankfully, that's now all in the past. Lambert's shock resignation paved the way for Elito's return to the fold, under caretaker boss Joe Dunne, and since then he has signed a new two-year contract.

Furthermore, the talented teenager was named in the first-team squad for the first time this season, at Southampton last weekend.

New manager Aidy Boothroyd had no qualms about including Elito in the 17-man squad, and although he was only an unused substitute, it surely won't be long before he is chalking up some more league appearances.

“I was so pleased to get the phone call from Joe (Dunne). I had really, truly began to think that I would not be coming back to Colchester, not with the old manager still here. In fact, I was meant to sign for someone until Joe phoned,” continued Elito.

“It was Joe who asked me to sign another contract, and I said “yes!” It's funny in football how things can turnaround so quickly.

“I now want to start playing again, get some goals, and get my name out there again.

“The new manager (Boothroyd) has told me to keep my head down and keep going. Hopefully, I'll get some game-time this weekend.

“I've needed to be mentally strong, because the whole experience has dented me a bit. Fortunately, Joe Dunne has given me that belief back, and given me that little push to do something.”

Elito, who is a product of the U's youth team, also gave an insight into how he found the atmosphere at the Community Stadium, under previous boss Lambert.

“The whole atmosphere at the club is totally different to before,” insisted Elito.

“It was very tense when the old manager was here. No one was talking much. Everyone wanted to be in Paul Lambert's plans, so it was quite difficult.

“Now, though, there is more togetherness and you get to speak again. I think the whole thing has made me a stronger person.

“I'm happier and more confident. Everything is less edgy.

“Paul Lambert never really spoke to me. He just said that I wasn't doing well and that I wasn't in his plans,” added Elito.

By contrast, Elito has nothing but praise for first team coach Dunne, whom he played under for the youth team.

“Joe has shown me love, and has helped me since the age of 15 or 16,” confirmed Elito.

He added: “I got a great reception from the Colchester fans at Southampton. I have always had a good rapport with them.

“And I'm hoping to be involved in this year's Under-20 World Cup as well. I'm hoping to be there.”

Elito has been named in England's provisional 30-man squad for the U-20 World Cup, to be staged in Egypt from the end of this month, although that squad will soon be trimmed down to 21.

The U's have another away fixture at Swindon Town tomorrow, and Elito should again be a part of Boothroyd's plans.

Injuries will rule out the quartet of Pat Baldwin, Steven Gillespie, Paul Reid and Jamie Guy, while midfielder Kem Izzet starts the first of a three-match suspension following his sending-off at Southampton last weekend.

WHAT do you think of Elito's story? Are you surprised? Is Aidy Boothroyd the man to take the U's back into the Championship? E-mail: sport@eadt.co.uk