Craig Eastmond has vowed to come back stronger this summer after experiencing a stop-start first season with Colchester United.

The 23-year-old arrived at the U’s with expectations high after joining them on a two-year deal from Arsenal, 12 months ago.

But Eastmond’s pre-season was disrupted after he suffered an ankle ligament injury in their opening friendly at Heybridge Swifts.

The midfielder nevertheless went on to clock up more than 30 league starts for Joe Dunne’s side, helping them to preserve their League One status.

And Eastmond believes the experiences he has had during this campaign will stand him in good stead for next time around.

Eastmond said: “It was my first full season in the Football League and it was always going to be a learning curve for me.

“For me, it was more of a mental thing really.

“I wasn’t very lucky with injuries in the early part of the season.

“But next season I want to push on and hopefully the physical side won’t be so hard.

“I’ve got my programme to do over the summer and I’ll hopefully come back stronger.

“It’s always a big step up, going from the under-21 league with Arsenal to the league football.

“But I was ready to take it and that’s why I’m here, to learn from the experience and impress.

“It’s always good to have a break - we’ll all go away, do what we have to do and then come back stronger.”

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