"The U's made me a better player".
Having completed his move to Championship newcomers Wigan Athletic, the young midfielder was keen to speak about his time at the club. Alex Gilbey has paid tribute to the U's after ending a nine year association with the club.
He told the official website: "Colchester is my home and the U's were my home town club and I enjoyed every single minute I was there.
"I must say a big thank you to all the coaching staff, they have made me a better player, and everyone at the club for making my time special."
It became obvious during last season that the twenty one year old was destined for a move higher up the football pyramid and he explained how the move to the Latics came about.
"Every player wants to play at the highest level they can and when there was interest last season, it looked like I could move up to the next level.
"Like I said, I loved every minute at the U's but the move to Wigan is an opportunity that I had to take.
"The fans at the U's were fantastic in their backing for the team generally and also to me personally.
"It meant a great deal to me to hear them chanting that I was one of their own and the Colchester result will be the first one I look out for."