SOUTHEND United’s academy manager Ricky Duncan has spoken of his pride following Dru Yearwood’s international call-up.

The talented midfielder has been selected in England’s under 18 squad.

And Duncan - who has worked with Yearwood since he was 12 - feels the call-up is a huge moment for everyone connected with the club.

“It’s fantastic for Dru, everyone at the academy and everyone to do with the football club as well,” said Duncan.

“He just gets on with it and you never have any hard work with him.

“He has a great family and support around him.

“He’s always smiling and since he’s stepped into the building I don’t think I’ve ever had two cross words with him.

“He wants to learn and listen and above all else he just wants to play football.

“He’s not interested in any of the rubbish that goes with it and this is great news.”

Yearwood’s call-up came following a fine breakthrough for the Shrimpers.

But it may not have been possible had his position not been changed by Blues’ youth team coach Dave Huzzey.

“Dru came to us when he was 12 after being released by Arsenal but he was a centre-forward back then,” recalled Duncan.

“He played wide as well and I don’t ever remember him playing in central midfield in his academy years.

“When he was a first year scholar, after a few games, he wasn’t really firing on all cylinders up front or out wide and we were getting a bit worried in truth.

“Dave then said he wanted to give him a go in midfield.

“I was a bit shocked and surprised but just said go on then and he took to it like he had played there all his life.

“It was unbelievable and fair play to Dave. By doing that he’s probably given Dru his career.”

And Duncan also feels Yearwood’s inclusion could well lead to other lower-league players following in his foot-steps in the future.

“He will show that kids from this level can play and it will open the door for others,” said Duncan.

“I’m just so pleased because I’ve never met such a level-headed kid.

“He’s got this great smile and always wanted things to be better, even when he was 12.

“It’s been great to see him progress and it seems a long time ago we used to wait outside for him to arrive because his dad would give out these big bowls of fruit!”