SOUTHEND United midfielder Jon Benton has labelled his first team debut ‘a dream come true’.

The 21-year-old - who has been with Blues since the age of eight - came off the bench midway through the second half of Monday’s 1-1 draw with Weymouth at Roots Hall.

And Benton loved every second of his involvement.

“Being at the club for so long and spending the majority of my life at the club it was a big day for my and my family,” said Benton.

“It was a special moment for all of us and a dream come true really.

“I felt very confident on the pitch as well and I loved every minute.”

Benton looked assured on the ball for Blues and feels his successful loan spell at Aveley earlier this season has been hugely beneficial.

“My loan spell was great for me,” said Benton.

“Danny Scopes told me his plans for the club and about wanting to go and win the league so I wanted to be a part of it.

“I played every game and contributed with goals and assists to help the team.

“But I think it was the best thing for me this season as it got me noticed and got the staff at the club up to date with my progress.”

Benton scored 16 goals in 25 games for Aveley as the Millers went on to win the Isthmian North title.

But he is now keen to also impress with the Shrimpers who he grew up watching from the stands.

“Southend is 10 minutes down the road from me and I would always go and watch when I was a little lad,” said the Leigh-based Benton.

“It was very special for me to then be playing in front of the fans because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do so a big thanks goes to the manager for believing in me and giving me a chance.”

But Benton remains hungry for more.

“My contract is up at the end of the season but I would love to crack on, show what I can do for the club and play more for the club next season,” he added