HENRY Burnett is bidding to end three years of injury hell after sealing a switch to Southend United.

The 21-year-old midfielder spent two years on the sidelines with a cruciate ligament injury before suffering a groin problem which kept him sidelined for a further 11 months.

But, having returned to full fitness, Burnett has now signed a year-long deal with the Shrimpers.

And Blues’ academy manager Ricky Duncan is already enjoying working with the youngster he has admired for quite some time.

“Dave Huzzey and myself would watch Henry when he was at Dagenham and he was a good technical footballer,” said Duncan.

“He had a serious injury after that though and he didn’t quite make it there because of that.

“They folded their academy and he became available in the summer.

“Henry had been out and he needed an opportunity so we brought him in because of what we remembered from before.

“He still had that technical ability and we’ve given him a year now to also try and work on the physical side of things.

“He’s worth it and you can see he gets on the ball and does nice little passes.

“He looks for a pass that can hurt people but we just have to work on his physical presence.”

Burnett played the full 90 minutes in the centre of the park for Blues’ under-23 side in their 2-0 win against Leyton Orient yesterday having also started against MK Dons last week.

And Duncan is already starting to notice a difference in Burnett’s game.

“Henry’s starting to get stronger and he’s in the gym all the time too,” said Duncan.

“The strength and conditioning team are working with him to make him stronger.

“Most of the time he’s in the gym and you can see he’s starting to benefit because he’s beginning to hold people off in games.

“If he can start doing that alongside the touch and skill he has then we’ve got ourselves a really nice player.

“It’s up to him because he’s got to keep working and he’s got to show by the end of the year that he can handle the physical side of things.

“But I think he’s getting better every week and will keep improving.”