SOUTHEND United goalkeeper Harry Seaden has spoken of his pride after being handed the first professional conrtact of his career.

The Shrimpers shot-stopper has risen through the ranks at Roots Hall.

And the 19-year-old remains eager to kick on.

“It’s a great personal achievement for me and my family,” said Seaden, whose dad John lined up for Blues in the 1980s.

“Being a Southend supporter since a child and following in my dad’s footsteps means it’s great.

“All the years of hard work, the extra training and having the guidance of Lee Harrison and the rest of the Southend United staff has made all of it worth while.

“But I have to keep the hard work going.”

Seaden has represented England at under 16 and under 17 age groups.

And he also made his first team debut earlier this season after lining up between the sticks against Gillingham at Roots Hall.

“Making my debut was a dream come true,” said Seaden.

“The atmosphere was fantastic and playing under the lights at Roots Hall was amazing.

“Just before my debut I was out with an ankle injury for seven weeks and it was heavily strapped up for the game but there was no way I was turning down the opportunity to play.

“I have to mention the fans as well because their unbelievable support made it a night to remember.”

But Seaden now wants more opportunities in the first team.

“My debut made me hungry to play more games in the future and I believe I’m ready to make the step up,” said Seaden, who is based in Rayleigh “It’s something I’m working on to achieve when lockdown is over.”

Seaden has so far been unable to build on his Shrimpers debut.

But the former FitzWimarc School pupil will be doing all he again to secure another opportunity and has been training hard throughout the enforced break in the season.

“I’ve been working hard through isolation to be fit and sharp for when we are back,” said Seaden.

“Game time is what I need to continue my progress in professional football so hopefully I’ll get that.”

And he cannot wait to return to action.

“I’m eager to get back after isolation and it’s been an interesting few months,” said Seaden.

“I feel I am the fittest I have ever been.

“I’ve been practising my goalkeeping over the field and running every day.

“It’s something I feel I have to do so when the times right for football to come back, I’m ready.”

And Seaden will again be taking to the field wearing a gum shield.

“The gum shield is a new addition,” said Seaden.

“In an under 23 game at Cambridge in 2019 I got my two front teeth knocked out, when a players knee went straight into my face.

“Unfortunately one come out straight away but the other was taken out at hospital.

“They are all fixed now but it’s part of being a goalkeeper and being brave on the pitch is something I’ll never take away from my game.”

But Seaden is not just thinking about football at this time.

“Above all else I hope all Blues fans are safe and well,” said the keeper.

“Hopefully we will all be back at Roots Hall very soon.”