SOUTHEND United manager Sol Campbell was proud of the Shrimpers' youngsters efforts at Peterborough United tonight.

But the former England international feels he should not have to blood so many of them in his starting line-up.

Campbell handed full debuts to defender Miles Mitchell-Nelson, winger Terrell Egbri and striker Matt Rush at London Road.

And, despite suffering a 4-0 defeat, the 45-year-old was pleased with the determination of his players in testing circumstances.

"We have half the under 23 squad out there playing a top League One side," said Campbell.

"I’m really proud of those players and they put a fantastic shift in but it’s tough.

"They stood up really well but we shouldn’t really have this many under 23s in the same side.

"But it was an amazing first half and we frustrated them.

"We played well and there were a lot of debuts.

"You can only work with what you’ve got but Peterborough are hugely experienced and can hurt you.

"It was only a matter of time before their quality came through."