SOUTHEND United legend Kevin Maher is relishing his return to Roots Hall.

The 37-year-old made 454 appearances during 10 seasons with the Shrimpers.

And he is now delighted to be back on a voluntary basis, helping to coach the club’s young players alongside head of youth Ricky Duncan.

“Coaching is the natural progression for me and it’s great that Ricky has allowed me to come in when I can to help coach the club’s young players,” said Maher, who remains Blues’ most successful ever captain.

“I spent most of my career with Southend so it will always be the club close to my heart and it’s great to be back.

“It’s a little bit strange being around the place again and coaching instead of playing, but I’m enjoying it because it’s what I want to do next.

“There are certainly some talented players in the youth set up here and if I can help them in some way as well then that’s fantastic.”

Maher has already completed his UEFA B Licence coaching course and is now keen to pick up even more qualifications, including the A Licence.

But Maher, who skippered the Shrimpers to back-to-back promotions and victory against Manchester United, is not yet ready to hang up his boots.

“I’m keen to carry on playing for as long as I can and think I can do another year,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee.

“I was playing non-league with Whitehawk up until last month and can hopefully get something else sorted out soon.

“However, coaching is definitely what’s next for me.

“I want to serve my apprenticeship and take in as much as I can.

“I’m learning all the time from Ricky and the other coaches and I’m enjoying it too.

“I will definitely keep at it and see where it can take me.”

Maher is helping out on a voluntary basis.

And Duncan is thrilled to be have him in the coaching set up.

“It’s fantastic to have someone like Kevin around the place and we were only too pleased to have him in after all he did during his time with the club,” said Duncan.

“He’s great with the youngsters and just the other day they were all asking him questions over lunch about his career and he’s brilliant for them to learn because he’s been there and done it for the first team here.”