Ifil buoyed by Boothroyd

COLCHESTER United's Phil Ifil is fully prepared to be an opportunist.

Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United's Phil Ifil is fully prepared to be an opportunist.

The 23-year-old was handed only his third start of the season in Saturday's 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers and he took it with both hands with a lively display on the right-wing.

Having been signed from Premier League club Tottenham for an undisclosed six figure fee in January 2008, the Londoner was a regular in the second half of the 2007/8 Championship relegation season.

However, he soon fell out of favour with former U's boss Paul Lambert and was restricted to just six League One appearances and a handful of cup games last season.

Lambert was replaced by Aidy Boothroyd in September though and the managerial change has seen a slow turnaround in Ifil's fortunes.

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The new U's boss made a point of telling his entire squad that they would all get their chance when he first took over and he has been true to his word.

Boothroyd has largely used the versatile Ifil as a substitute but, after deciding to drop Kayode Odejayi and restore Kevin Lisbie to the forward line on Saturday, he was given a rare chance to shine from the start.

And, playing on the right-wing, Ifil was one of Colchester's best performers on the day as he constantly got forward in a fine U's attacking display.

“That's what it's all about. Sometimes you have to wait five, 10 or 15 games before you get a chance and then, when you do, you've got to be ready to give 100%,” said Ifil.

“There have been some tough times for me this year when I wasn't really where I wanted to be. But the new gaffer has come in and he told me that, if I kept working hard, I would get my chance.

“He's been good to me, he's given me a chance, and I knew I would be needed at some point.

“Have I done enough to stay in the team? That's up to the manager; he's in control of all of that. All I can do is keep giving 100%.

“That's what life is all about - you have to wait for opportunities and then be ready to take them.

“I don't prefer a position, I just prefer playing football. And whether I'm starting games or coming on, I'm just happy to be part of a winning side.”

Colchester's latest home victory - their eighth of the season - consolidated their fourth position in League One. And Ifil sees no reason why the Essex side can't get promoted back to the Championship this season.

He said: “With the talent we have got, we can go as far as we want to go. The only thing that is stopping us is ourselves.

“It was important to get the result on Saturday because we wanted to show people that we are serious contenders.”

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