Bentley eager for Blues chance

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Goalkeeper Daniel Bentley has set his sights on being Southend's number one after being offered a professional contract.

After being named on the first-team bench for 18 games this season, the 17-year-old is now aiming to gain some valuable experience, either on-loan or with the reserves, in order to increase his chances of a first team break.

"To be given a professional contract at Southend was a great feeling and I can't wait to come back in for pre-season," Bentley told the Echo.

"As a young boy I had always dreamed of being a professional footballer and, although I have a long way to go yet, this is a massive step and massive achievement for me.

"Next season I want to play as much football as I can, whether that means playing reserve football or going out on loan because experience, especially as a goalkeeper, is very important.

"To play in the first team would also be brilliant and again a real achievement so hopefully I'll get the opportunity to do that as well next year."