SOUTHEND United striker Charlie Kelman cannot wait to end the hardest period of his career and get back training with the Shrimpers.

Blues have been out of action since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And, despite doing all he can to stay in shape, Kelman is chomping at the bit to return.

“It’s been the hardest period of my career so far and I can’t wait to get back to training,” said Kelman.

“I’m doing everything I can to be ready when we do go back but it’s the longest I’ve ever gone without playing football and it’s tough because it’s all I’ve ever known really.

“I’ve got a park near me so I’ve been going over there and working hard to keep fit.

“I’ve been listening to the programmes but of course it’s been tough, especially as it’s been three or four months now.”

Kelman came through the ranks at Roots Hall and has attracted interest from a number of top clubs, with Tottenham Hotspur having a bid turned down for him last season.

However, the 18-year-old remains fully focused on the Shrimpers and is keen to help get them back on track.

“I wanted to try and help keep us in the division but we didn’t get that chance and we’ll be looking to bounce back next year now,” said Kelman, who top scored for Blues with seven goals last term.

“I’ll be looking to score as many goals as I can next season to hopefully help us get back up.

“We didn’t win as many games last season and I’m a winner so I love winning so I want more of it. If we can get 10 or more wins on the board then that would be great and then we will see where we are. But for me scoring goals doesn’t really mean anything unless you’re winning games.”

Kelman was talking at a training session for ‘Run Free’, a new initiative aimed to help those suffering with mental health issues to improve their mindset through exercise.

And the 18-year-old was delighted to be involved.

“Mental health is quite close to home for me and my family,” said Kelman.

“Whenever I see people who are suffering I do everything I can to help.

“Everyone has their own issues and I’ve had mine. But being able to talk about it has really helped me. A lot of people don’t talk about how they’re feeling and they bottle up their emotions but that doesn’t help. The PFA have been helping out and the fact people are starting to talk more is really helping the game.”