SOUTHEND United have triggered an extra year in the contract of teenage striker Emile Acquah.

The 18-year-old made three appearances for Blues’ first team towards the end of last season.

And the Shrimpers’ head of academy Ricky Duncan believes there is still more to come from the youngster.

“Emile has been a project we’ve been working on for a long time and we’ve opted to trigger the extra year on his contract now,” said Duncan.

“He’s got great physique and he’s learning to use that better now but he has a great attitude and he will continue to improve.

“As a youngster we opted to initially extend his contract as a schoolboy before offering him a scholarship but he’s young in the age-group and has done well.”

Acquah continued his development by joining Harlow Town on loan last season.

And Duncan felt the switch was hugely beneficial.

“Emile did very well at Harlow and it really brought his game on,” said Duncan.

“He’s someone who keeps himself to himself really and he’s very unassuming but he’s learning all the time and there’s still more to come from him.

“He’s never going to be a speedy type of striker but he will become an excellent targetman so it was an easy decision to offer him the third year.”

But Duncan has now set Acquah another target,

“I’ve told Emile that the next target for him is to get himself a professional deal before Christmas,” said Duncan.

“That’s the next target for him and it’s what he should now be working towards.”