Southend United’s new signing Isaac Layne says the chance to play in the Football League with Blues was one he couldn’t turn down.
Layne was with Billericay Town last season, but impressed manager Phil Brown when Blues visited New Lodge for a pre-season friendly in July.
The youngster was on trial at Charlton Athletic at the time, but when he heard of Blues’ interest, he says he didn’t have a decision to make.
He said: “It was a no brainer for me really when I heard that Southend United were interested in me and wanted to sign me.
“I know it’s a good club and being from around here helps as well. The chance to play in the Football League is what every kid wants to do.
“You work hard to get yourself into a position to earn the contract, but I know that the real hard work starts now if I’m going to make a good impression.”
Despite not joining Charlton, Layne says the experience was invaluable, and believes it has got him in excellent condition for the new season.
He added: “It was great to be able to spend some time with Charlton. On quite a few occasions we trained with the first team, but for one reason or another it didn’t happen.
“Because of that opportunity though, I’m feeling in great shape ahead of the new season and I’m raring to go now for Southend United.”
The 19-year-old is looking forward to the opportunity of working with experienced manager Phil Brown, adding: “I remember watching Hull City as a kid on TV when he was their manager.
“He’s got a lot of experience in the game and for youngsters like myself that’s very important. I want to learn as much as I can from him.
“Hopefully I can show the manager, the staff, my teammates and the fans just what I’m all about this season.”