DAVID Martin believes Southend United goalkeeper Collin Andeng Ndi is already capable of making the step up into League One.

Andeng Ndi has impressed between the sticks for the Shrimpers this season.

And Martin – who has coached the 20-year-old custodian throughout the campaign – is certain Andeng Ndi is ahead of many other keepers of the same age.

“For someone who is only 20 to have played as many games as he has in men's football, he'll have a real head-start on the academy goalkeepers at Premier League clubs,” explained Martin.

“Technically they might be the best but because of his game experience Collin will be ahead of them now.

“I've been lucky enough to play at all different levels and for me, being in League One last year, I do think Collin could play quite comfortably at that level.

“I hope he gets there with Southend but if it's not then he's more than capable of stepping into a League One side whenever that may be.

“That's at this stage too so who knows at 23, 24 when you're still a baby in goalkeeping terms can you then go and start pushing for the Championship and who knows from there?”

Andeng Ndi has made 32 appearances for the Shrimpers this term to take his career tally to 57.

And Martin has thoroughly enjoyed working with the youngster this term.

“I've loved it,” said the 38-year-old.

“When I first came in it was purely just to train but I spoke to the gaffer and he didn't have a goalie coach.

“I had the same role at MK Dons last year and I found it really tough going but it gave me the chance to learn a lot.

“You learn more about yourself, what your capabilities are where you need to go when it's a negative experience.

“I had to do the coaching because there was no-one else to do it but through what I learnt last year I just thought right how do I make this work for me and for Collin?

“The first day I met him he was such a nice lad and I feel like our relationship has got stronger and stronger throughout the season.”

Andeng Ndi has improved throughout the campaign and made a stunning double save at Wealdstone earlier this month.

But Martin has played down his part in the goalkeeper’s displays.

“I can't take a lot of credit,” said Martin.

“He had a good foundation coming from Italy where he did his schoolboy phase before coming over here when he was about 15. “He had a long time with Reece Ottley as well and he would have given him a really good foundation and something to work with. “For me, if I have helped him in any way I would like to think it's the game understanding.

“I've got a lot of experience playing 400 plus games in the top five divisions so I’m able to see where Collin's at and where to improve.

“It's just those little finer details he's taken on board and that's what I love about him, he's very coachable and wants to improve. “I've tried to help guide him but he's done it himself to be honest.”

Martin has also made 10 appearances for Blues this season and has relished his first season at Roots Hall both on and off the pitch.

“I've loved it,” said Martin.

“The manager, Daz (Darren Currie) and Benno (Mark Bentley) have all been great with me and I've got JD (Jason Demetriou), my little sidekick too.

“I’ve had a really good time and I've learnt loads.

“I didn't think it was going to be the situation this year but I’ve been at all different clubs and I feel connected to this club.

“I feel the passion of the club and football is a drug isn’t it.

“I can see being here why people are attracted to Southend and it's a great team to be a part of.”