COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal believes new signing Paul Rooney is “one for the future”.

The 20-year-old signed a one-and-a-half-year contract last Wednesday but did not feature in the starting line-up or on the bench for Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Port Vale.

Instead, McGreal has indicated that the Dublin-born defender, who joined from Championship club Millwall, will have to prove himself in the club’s under-23s first.

“Paul’s one for the future,” said the U’s boss, whose side were denied by a late leveller at Vale Park and currently sit 11th in League Two.

“He gives us something different as a centre-back.

“He’s had a loan and already tasted a little bit of men’s football.

“It’s good to get him in and see what he does with the under-23s and it’s an opportunity for him to come and play.”

After joining Millwall’s Elite Development Squad from Bohemians in 2016, he managed only one appearance with the South London club and last season spent time on loan at National League club Torquay United.

He started his career at St Patrick’s Athletic.

Meanwhile, McGreal says he is still weighing up his options with regards the long-term future of Kyel Reid.

The winger returned to parent club Coventry City, following the end of his loan deal with the U’s and the beginning of his current suspension, following his sending-off during the 4-1 home defeat to Cheltenham.

McGreal has previously suggested he would like to extend Reid’s stay at the Weston Homes Community Stadium and the 30-year-old is thought to be surplus to requirements at the Sky Blues.

“Kyel’s had the last game of his suspension, last Saturday,” said McGreal.

“We’ve had to generate money with players going out on loan and we’ll come to a decision to see where we’re at and what options we’ve got.”

McGreal has sung the praises of goalscoring hero Courtney Senior, who put his side ahead against Port Vale.

It was the perfect way to mark his first league start for the club.

“Courtney did well and we’re a club of opportunity, bringing the young lads through,” said the U’s boss.

“He deserved his start after how he’s performed of late and scored a good goal for us.

“He gave us a good hour and he was tiring a bit, so it was a change we had to make.

“He’s a young boy of 20 years of age and we’ve been waiting a long time for him to come back after a cruciate injury.

“He’s been getting his minutes of late – he’s generally through the middle but we’ve had to play him out wide with us playing 4-3-3 and I thought he put in a good performance for us.

“He should be thoroughly pleased to get his goal.”