SAMSON Tovide made the Colchester United bench at Bradford City on Saturday - at the age of 16.

The U's first-year scholar was among their substitutes for their League Two opener at Valley Parade.

Tovide, who plays in attack, has been catching the eye in the Colchester academy.

And at the age of 16 years, eight months and ten days, the first-year scholar travelled up to Bradford with head coach Steve Ball and his first-team squad.

If he goes on to make his senior debut in the coming weeks, he will become one of Colchester's youngest-ever players.

Ball said: “We’ve brought a few in, this year.

“Marley Miranda has come in and these kids are coming into our club now who have all got this strong personality.

“I think our recruitment profiling has been brilliant and we need that, because this league is robust and relentless and difficult.

“Samson has been kicking people in training – literally – which is not great, I’ve got to calm him down.

“But he just wants to be part of it and he’s 16, going on 22.

“He’s a powerful boy and he’s another one on the chain of players at this club who are going to get opportunities for the first team this season and long may it continue.

“He trained with us the day before the game and he really stood out.

“It’s happened before at this club; 16 is very, very young but I won’t be afraid to put players like that in."

Todd Miller is Colchester's youngest-ever player.

The winger made club history in March, 2019 when he made his senior debut for the U's in a League Two game at Exeter at the age of 16 years and 166 days.

That beat the previous record held by Lindsay Smith, by 48 days.

Smith had held the record for several years, having made his debut for the U's at the age of 16 years and 214 days in a game at Grimsby Town in April, 1971.

Tom Bender, who was given his Colchester senior debut by Aidy Boothroyd at the age of 16 years and 243 days in a League One match against Hartlepool United in September, 2009 is third in the list.

At the time of Tovide's birth, Phil Parkinson was embarking on his first full season as Colchester manager, with the likes of Scott McGleish, Sam Stockley and Kem Izzet plying the trade for them at Layer Road in League One.