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Young Trio React to New Deals

30 May 2022

Five youngsters signed new Colchester United deals last week, and are all happy to have extended their time with the U's.

Later this week, we'll bring you the reaction from Lordan Akolbire and Donell Thomas, but today it'll be Al-Amin Kazeem, Billy Cracknell and Jake Hutchinson.

All five of the youngsters were in the Col U TV Studio last week, with Al-Amin telling Lee Partridge: 

"It's an amazing feeling. It's great to get it done and to know that the club appreciates me."

The young defender has already experienced the highs and lows of football in his time at the club, having  been included in the matchday squad for the last game of the season - and having to miss an entire season due to injury.

He said about the first team call up: "It was Dave Huzzey that called to tell me. I trained with the squad the day before they were travelling and you're hoping to be in, but it's not necessarily a guaranteed thing."

"I was so pleased when I got the call, and so were my parents. They were saying not to be too excited because I hadn't played yet, but to enjoy the experience, which I did."

On the other side of the coin, Al-Amin was out of action for a year and a half due to a serious knee injury.

He told Col U TV: "I did my ACL and Meniscus and it took me about eighteen months to play a game again."

"When I did it, I didn't think it would be such a serious one, I thought maybe three or four months.

"To be told I'd be missing for a whole season and more was the worst experience I've had, as it would be for any footballer or athlete."

A fellow defender, but with less of an injury history, Billy Cracknell is another to have had to contend with a tough time before this point in his career.

Talking about the past year, he said: " I was delighted to be offered a deal, I wasn't expecting it at all."

"I went on loan to Concord and struggled, and came back into the U23s. I then went out to Bishop's Stortford, kicked on there and did well as we got to the Play-Offs.

"It was the last game of the season when I was offered a deal and I was delighted."

Billy has already made his U's debut, coming on as a late sub in the 2-1 win against Carlisle United.

He admitted to a bit of nerves, saying: "When the Gaffer called me over and said I was going on, I was nervous but couldn't wait to be out there."

"We were 2-1 up when I went on so I didn't want to concede and I went on in centre midfield which I wasn't used to.

"I don't think I even touched the ball to be honest, but we got the job done."

The last of the today's trio is Jake Hutchinson, who has been banging the goals during loan spells away from the JCS.

He wants to add to the four years he's been with the U's, and was pleased that the offer was made this early to avoid any uncertainly over the summer.

"I've been here for four years now, with two years pro after my two year scholarship. To get offered a new contract for another two years, I was wanting to get it signed straight away."

"To be offered it a few weeks before the end of the season was nice so it was all sorted and I haven't got to worry about where I'm going next or think about trials or whether I'd even get a chance at a league club."

Jake's second spell at Hitchin on loan started with a hat-trick and continued as his side avoided relegation out of the Southern Premier League.

He enjoyed his time there, and during his other spells on loan, saying: "I think it's a massive opportunity to go out and play men's football and get plenty of match time."

To see the full interviews with Jake, Billy and Al-Amin, head to

On your account dashboard, scroll down to 'Your Streaming Channels', click on the 'CUFC Media' button and watch the latest episode of ColU TV.

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