WHEN Kwame Poku recently sat down for his first media interview since bursting onto the scene with Colchester United, he identified one team-mate in particular who has been a strong influence on him over the last few weeks.

“Noubs obviously gives me the most advice – he’s been through all of the levels and it’s always good to get information from him,” revealed the 18-year-old winger, who has been a breath of fresh air since forcing his way into John McGreal’s starting line-up.

That understanding showed on the pitch in the U’s 3-1 triumph over bottom club Stevenage and it was perhaps hardly surprising that Poku should pick out Frank Nouble as someone who has helped him, given the experienced attacker’s positive presence– both on and off the pitch.

Even at 28 years old, Nouble is one of the senior members of Colchester's young squad; his experience is proving invaluable.

Every team needs a talisman - and Nouble is proving to be one for the U's.

He is a player who is in his prime and the U’s are benefitting from that.

One of the first names on McGreal’s teamsheet, Nouble was a key performer against Stevenage having made and scored a penalty and then done superbly to set up Poku for the U’s third goal.

He made a big impact in the second half, which was impressive particularly as Nouble had been touch and go to play having undergone a fitness test prior to the match and was only just passed fit to play.

It is testament to the former West Ham United youngster’s commitment to the cause and desire to play that he produced the display he did and was typical of the standards he sets himself.

With his versatility and consistency, Nouble is leading by example with his performances.

It is perhaps is a reflection of his recent assertion that he feels like he has more of an influential role within the squad, now he is considered an experienced pro.

“Now I feel like I’m more of a leader – I didn’t think I’d ever be that character but it’s just happened that way,” he said.

Inevitably, that kind of attitude rubs off on in a positive way on Poku and the younger members of the U's squad around him.

With more than a decade of experience of playing in all four of English football’s divisions, Nouble is proving a truly valuable member of Colchester’s squad as their promotion push really gains momentum.