Leon On Loan?

Young midfielder Leon Britton is hoping to kick start a professional career that he himself admits has been stalling of late as he bids to earn a loan spell at Southend United.

"I have been in and out of the reserve team, which has been a bit disappointing," he says. "Sometimes I play and sometimes I am sub and it has been a bit disjointed playing-wise.

"As I haven't been playing regularly I am going to Southend on trial this week with a view to them hopefully taking me on loan.

"That is what I need because I am too old for the youth team and if I am not playing for the reserves regularly it would be better to get a bit of experience.

"I played for the reserves last year but obviously I was playing regularly in the youth team as well. I have been standing still for the last year, really, and I haven't pushed on to the first team squad.

"Hopefully, though, I can show the boss that I can do well when I go on loan."

Leon knows that his career is entering a critical phase and he adds: "I have got another year left on my contract, but if I don't do well at Southend I am not going to do well at West Ham.

"It is kind of make or break to see if I can handle it, so we will see how it goes, but I am determined to bounce back and hopefully I can get my confidence up - and go from there."

A decision will be made by Shrimpers boss Rob Newman next week, and Leon explains: "They haven't got a reserve game this week so I am going to be training there, then they have a match on Tuesday which I will play in.

"I suppose Rob Newman will tell me after the game or the next day whether they are going to take me on loan or not.

"I spoke to Glenn Roeder the other week and he told me he doesn't want me going on loan if I am not going to play week in, week out.

"I am only allowed to go on loan if he knows that near enough I am going to be playing every week - and he has said I will only be going a month at a time."

The 20-year-old has discussed his future with Glenn Roeder and he adds: "I spoke to him a week ago now and he said there are two things you can do you. You can either lie down and wait to find another club at the end of your contract or you can fight it and try and keep improving - and hopefully get in the first team at the end.

"I am ready for it; I have been waiting a long time for this chance to come up so it is down to me now to prove that I can do it."

The diminutive midfielder knows that he faces a physically challenging time in division three if the move does go ahead and concludes: "I am not the tallest, and Steven Clark, who used to be at West Ham, says it is quite tough at times - but I am looking forward to it."