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Defender Richard Taylor was released by the Clarets at the end of last season having completed his scholarship with the youth team.

1819 burnley richard taylor 00 500x500Aged 18, he signed a one year deal with Southend and went into their under-23 squad which plays in the Central League. In recent weeks he has been making the bench for the first team at the struggling League One club but hadn’t been called upon. That was until last night when he was named in the starting eleven for their League Trophy game against Wimbledon.

It was a key game for recently appointed manager Sol Campbell too. A defeat, a fifth in succession, would have given him the worst start of any Southend manager but that was averted with a 3-1 win against Wimbledon where there was another link to Burnley’s youth team past.

Southend went in front but Wimbledon equalised with a goal from Tommy Wood. He too was a scholar at Burnley, between 2016 and 2017. He then had a further year with Michael Duff’s development squad before moving to Wimbledon in the summer of 2018. He’s been out on loan at Leatherhead this season but was recalled for this game having scored nine times for them in.

For Wood it is a fourth first team appearance, including a substitute appearance in League One last season against Fleetwood, but for Taylor, this was his first outing in the first team. He completed the ninety minutes in the victory and his manager Campbell said of his performance: “I think he played excellently. Really good on the ball and he can only get better.

“He’s got to get a bit sharper when it gets a bit tight; sometimes the forwards tried to shut him down so he just needs to do things a little bit earlier, but that’ll come with the more games he plays and he realises you’ve got to move the ball a bit quicker. Other than that, coming forward, he passed really well, he was confident on the ball, got some really good defensive headers away and he had a really good debut. He should be happy with that.”

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