SOUTHEND United youngster Renei Batlokwa has been selected in the Botswana squad.

The attacking midfielder has been called up by former Shrimpers midfielder Peter Butler ahead of the Zebras’ clash with DR Congo this weekend.

And Blues boss Phil Brown was delighted to learn of Batlokwa’s international involvement.

“I’m pleased for Renei and it’s really good news,” said Brown.

“I’m sure their manager is well known by Southend fans and I also know him from his time being a Shayman (Halifax Town).

“I’ve spoken to him a few times about Renei but there has also been interest from the England youth set-up as well.

“Renei was born in Botswana but he can also play for England so it’s a decision for him to make but we’re really happy for him and it’s also testament to all the good work which goes on in the youth set-up.”

Batlokwa, who has been with Blues for the past six years, is still waiting to make his first team debut but Brown wants to see the 19-year-old pushing for a place in his squad next season.

“There is no doubting that Renei is a player and he has a lot of ability on the ball,” said the Shrimpers boss.

“Next season is a big one for him and we will be looking for him to push on and show what he can do.

“But the same can be said of one or two other youngsters as I’m expecting big things from Elvis Bwomono and Dru Yearwood next season.”

Next term will also see Southend facing Blackpool in League One after the Tangerines saw off Exeter City in the League Two play-off final at Wembley yesterday.

Mark Cullen’s second half goal saw Blackpool come out on top.

And Brown is already looking forward to taking on his former team.

“I’m really pleased for Blackpool and their manager Gary Bowyer because he’s one of football’s good guys,” said Brown.

“He’s another English manager who has had to drop down to League Two to get a chance so I’m delighted for him.”

Blackpool’s promotion means Blues will travel 8,970 miles next term compared to 7,300 miles last season.