SOUTHEND United defender Luke Reeve has spoken of his pride after being named player of the year for the Shrimpers’ youth team.

The 18-year-old picked up the award after producing a number of fine performances for Blues and for Great Wakering Rovers when out on loan.

And Reeve was delighted to pick up the trophy.

“It was a really proud moment for me,” said the youngster.

“I’ve been at Southend since I was nine looking up to older players all the time and working my way up.

“This is something that will certainly live long in my memory.”

Reeve finished ahead of fellow second-year scholar Brian Garzon and first-year playmaker Henry Sandat to be named player of the year.

And the defender felt Blues’ under 18 side improved as the season progressed.

“We started the season slowly but then we got together as a team and started to pick up results which was good,” said Reeve.

“We did well but we were unlucky in the FA Youth Cup losing on penalties to Cambridge who then went on to do well.”

However, Reeve also went on to impress after being sent out on loan to Isthmian North side Great Wakering Rovers.

Reeve was a regular starter after joining Rovers in February and he thoroughly enjoyed his spell at Burroughs Park.

“For me personally going out on loan really benefited me,” said Reeve.

“Playing senior football really helped me and I learnt a lot at Great Wakering.

“I really enjoyed it there.

“Playing men’s football was great and I enjoyed that feeling of playing for the three points on a Saturday with fans coming down to watch.

“I started 15 league games in a row I think it was and I loved it.”

Reeve is now enjoying a summer break but he is already looking forward to next season with the Shrimpers and is keen to experience more senior football.

“I’ve been offered my third year and I’ll be staying on next season which I’m happy about,” said the Chelmsford based defender.

“I want to come back in and make sure I have a good start to pre-season.

“I want to try and impress and then hopefully get closer to the first team at Southend or if not then go out on loan somewhere else to get more experience.”

Reeve received the Tom Grace Memorial Shield for winning player of the year.

Tom was an avid Southend United supporter and a junior member of the Trust who sadly passed away at the age of 15 in July 2007.

The award was named in his memory thereafter and previous winners include Charlie Kelman, Elvis Bwomono, Jack Payne and Dru Yearwood.