CALLUM Taylor is keen to kick on after leaving Southend United.

The 19-year-old has left the Shrimpers after a decade at Roots Hall.

And the shot-stopper remains frustrated not to have been given more opportunities to impress this season.

“Going into this season I felt I was performing well for the under 23s and was putting in some good performances, most noticeably the draw at Hullbridge,” said Taylor.

“Despite this I felt I was being overlooked by the new management team as I was given only rare opportunities to train with the keepers, never mind the rest of the first team squad.

“Football being as it is, I was aware that things can change quickly and continued to work hard within the 23’s hoping I would at least be given a chance to be around the keepers and the first team environment.

“But unfortunately this wasn’t to be the case.”

And that eventually led to Taylor leaving the club.

“It was explained to me that Southend wanted experience brought in and it was clear I was likely to move further down the pecking order at the club,” said Taylor.

“Given the position the club are in I have to accept this decision.

“My contract was until the end of the season but I chose to leave after the Christmas break to allow me time to focus on my career instead of floating around until the end of the season with limited time to find a new club.”

But, having been with the club for so long, Taylor initially found his departure tough to take.

“After 10 years at the club it is all I have known and I won’t pretend that it wasn’t upsetting at the start,” said Taylor.

“Moving forward however, I am excited about what my future may hold and I have already been training with a club in Northern Ireland for a few weeks.

“There’s a trial with a League One club in the pipeline as well so hopefully some opportunities materialise and some good times hopefully await me too.”

Taylor, who has represented Northern Ireland internationally, made one senior appearance for the Shrimpers.

And he insists he will remember his time at Roots Hall with great fondness.

“Despite how it ended I will look back with great fondness on my time at the club, “said Taylor.

“I made some great life-long friends at the club as well as experiencing travelling abroad at a young age and playing against top level opposition.

“I’d like to thank the staff who supported me through my 10 years at the club, especially Lee Harrison.

“He really introduced me to the full time environment as a first year scholar and gave me my chance to be around the first team environment.

“That led to my debut which remains the best day in my life so far.

“But mostly I thank the fans. I’ve received support from the fans even as an under 15/under 16 when I went away on international duty and as I got closer to the first team environment the support only intensified.

“I thank all the fans for their support and belief in me that I could go in and do a job for their club.

“But it’s a sad moment leaving the club I’ve grown up at and I’ve been a fan of.

“I’ve been to games since I can remember and I wish the club all the best.”

However, Taylor will always be proud of what he achieved at Roots Hall.

“I have so many great memories at the club,” said the youngster.

“Playing at Southend gave me the chance to go and show what I can do for my country.

“I played against Belgium, Scotland and Wales amongst others and played in the prestigious Victory Shield and milk cup which was a dream of mine.

“But most of all I loved my time within the first team.

“To experience being involved with them having just turned 18 and going away to Peterborough, Doncaster amongst others in front of big crowds was a great experience.”

And Taylor also got to appear for the first time last season as he came on as a second half substitute for the injured Mark Oxley against Coventry City in February 2020.

“To go and warm up and hear my name chanted in support as I warmed up as Ox was down was a surreal feeling for me,” said Taylor.

“The amount of times I’d been at Roots Hall as a fan at 3pm on Saturday, to be involved was unreal.

“When I stepped onto the pitch in front of 10,000 fans and my name was greeted to a cheer, it was an incredible feeling for me “I’ve moved on now but I wish Southend all the best and hope they manage to stay up and that the fans get the ground they deserve.

“Hopefully one day I can come back too, either as a fan or to play.”