SOUTHEND United’s youth team coach Dave Huzzey has expressed his joy at Nathan Bishop’s involvement in the under 21 team.

The highly-rated 17-year-old goalkeeper has lined up in the last two matches for Kevin Maher’s side.

And Huzzey has been thrilled to see the shot-stopper make the step up.

“It’s brilliant for Nathan to be playing in the 21s but he deserves it because he’s one of the most professional boys I’ve ever worked with,” said Huzzey.

“He’s very similar to Ted Smith when he was coming through in that he works extremely hard and always wants to be do more which is sometimes his biggest problem.

“But he’s done very well in the under 18s this season and it would have been a great experience for him to be sharing a dressing room with so many of the first team squad who were also playing that day.”

Bishop’s latest under 21 appearance came in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon in which he saved a penalty before being beaten by the rebound.

The youngster has now saved six of the nine spot-kicks he has faced this season and looks set to continue the Shrimpers’ tradition of bringing through their own goalkeepers.

“The goalkeeping department are fantastic here and it’s no coincidence that more keepers keep on coming through,” said Huzzey.

“Lee Harrison and Terry Mason do a great job and Paul Smith has been unbelievable since he started working with the youngsters as well.

“Reece Ottley is fundamental in what goes on and these people don’t always get the recognition they deserve for the top jobs they do.”