MATT Rush admits it was a dream come true to make his first team debut for Southend United - but the youngster remains hungry for more opportunities.

The 18-year-old has come off the bench for Blues in their last two matches - away at Sunderland and Portsmouth.

And the striker is loving his first taste of senior action with the Shrimpers.

“It’s been a dream come true to make my first team debut,” said Rush.

“It’s something I aimed to do at the start of the season and for it to actually happen is something really pleasing for me.

“It makes me want to work even harder to stay there.

“I had a good start to the season on loan at Harlow and for the under-23s but to actually be called up for the first team is a great feeling and then to get on is even better.”

Rush has already hit the back of the net 18 times this season.

But the teenager was apprehensive before stepping onto the pitch at the Stadium of Light, where he played the final 12 minutes.

“I was slightly nervous when I was told to warm up against Sunderland as I was thinking this could be it and I could come on and make my debut,” said Rush, who has been with Blues since the under-14s.

“But as soon as I got on the pitch and got my first touch it felt like a normal game.

“I just enjoyed every second of it and wished it lasted for longer to be honest.”

And Rush particularly enjoyed playing in front of such a large crowd.

“To make my debut at Sunderland in front of 30,000 fans is very special and something I will never forget,” said Rush, who is from Wickford.

“Then to play at Fratton Park which is also a great atmosphere and has Premier League history was a great start to my career as they are probably the best two away grounds to go to in this League.

“It was only last year I watched Sunderland in the play-off final at Wembley so to play against them was surreal.”

The Shrimpers were beaten 1-0 at Sunderland before losing 4-1 at Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

But Rush felt Blues deserved to take more from the games.

“I thought against Sunderland we did well and were unlucky not to get something out of the game,” said Rush.

“Portsmouth was a disappointing result but I don’t think we deserved to lose 4-1 and I’m sure soon the results will start to get better.”

And Rush is also keen to play his part in Blues’ season getting back on track.

“My targets are to try and stay around the first team for as long as possible, keep learning things in training and making myself a better player,” said Rush.

“I want to get as many minutes as possible and get my first goal for the club. Then I want to kick on and start some games this season.”