MATT Rush is determined to make the most of his opportunity at Southend United.

The 18-year-old striker was handed the first start of career when the Shrimpers visited Peterborough United on Tuesday night.

And Rush is eager to build on his full debut, starting with tomorrow’s clash with Coventry City at Roots Hall.

“I’m very eager to build on this now,” said the forward.

“Hopefully my performance means I will have a few more starts this season and hopefully then I can score some goals and push on from there.”

Rush, who came through the youth ranks at Roots Hall, had made five substitute appearances for Blues before being handed his first start. And Rush was delighted to get the nod.

“I was very pleased and excited to make my first start,” said the youngster.

“I thought I would be nervous but I had nothing to lose and just wanted to work hard for the team and try to get something out of the game.

“It’s something I’ve wanted for a while now so hopefully I can get a few more starts now.”

Rush worked hard for the team in attack and felt Blues did not deserve to suffer a 4-0 defeat against their in-form hosts.

“I thought in the first half we did really well,” said Rush.

“Defensively we were good and we looked a threat going forward and I definitely think it would of been harsh on us if we went in losing at the break.

“Milly (Mark Milligan) then hit the post and 30 seconds later they scored which was hard to take, “The end result was disappointing too but it definitely didn’t reflect the whole game.”

Despite the result, Rush enjoyed the experience and making the step up from playing under 23 football.

“The pace of the game was higher than the 23s but it’s still just 11 against 11 and you just have to try and win your individual battles no matter what game you are playing in,” said Rush.

“I tried not to overthink that is was a first team fixture and more that it was just another game. But it was a nice feeling to start. I had a feeling the day before that I had a chance of starting but it was only when we done the analysis on Peterborough that I knew. I was just raring to go out and get out there.”