SOUTHEND United youngster Oscar Jones will not have far to look for sporting inspiration as he strives to secure a future with the Shrimpers.

The first year scholar is the nephew of legendary Olympic swimmer Mark Foster.

And Foster is doing all he can to help the defender fulfill his potential.

“Oscar’s doing really well,” said Foster.

“I try and guide him the best I can and try to send him lots of different clips.

“I speak to him a lot about not being afraid of failure because I don’t think we fail at anything.

“By doing something we get a result and we learn from it.

“Then you either try again or you don’t.”

Foster used that philosophy during his own incredible career which spanned 23 years and saw him line up at five Olympics and win 51 international medals.

The 53-year-old also set eight world records and maintained a determination to improve.

“That was the big thing in my swimming career and the reason I carried on for so many years is that even when I broke the world record I always thought I could get better and faster,” said Foster “You learn and go again.”

And Foster wants his nephew to also do all he can.

“I say to him, look if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t matter but try,” said Foster.

“Be one of the people that did rather that could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.

“Be a did, try and if it doesn’t work out it’s cool.

“You’re still winning by trying rather than wishing you had tried.

“As human beings we only grow by taking ourselves out of the comfort zone.”

Jones spent time on loan with Great Wakering Rovers earlier on this season and is now lining up for Burham Ramblers in Thurlow Nunn South.

And Foster gets along to as many games as possible.

“I watch him a lot and he’s got a great outlook,” said Foster.

“At some point if he could play for a Conference team or whoever it would be great but who knows.

“Some of the time certain players don’t get that breakthrough until they’re a bit older so just keep going.”

The Billericay-born Foster still remains incredibly involved in sport and is part of the BBC team for top swimming events.

And he still enjoys being back home home in Essex.

“I’m at Leigh on Sea at the moment,” said Foster.

“I came back just before lockdown obviously not knowing lockdown was going to happen and spent a lot of time with the family.

“Being by the coast is lovely too.

“I lived by St Albans for a number of years.

“That worked job wise and golf wise but there’s just something about being by the coast.

“I guess you’re either a sea person or a country person and I’m definitely a sea person.

“I like that sense of space and fresh air.”

>Mark Foster was talking on the 24 hour livestream for SECE Mind. Donations can still be made here