JOHN WHITE hasn’t taken long to settle at Southend after his summer move from Colchester.
Little wonder as the right-back has been installed as captain by Phil Brown and lives within two minutes of the Shrimpers’ Roots Hall home and their training ground.
But he is desperate for a move – for himself and the club – back to League One and judging by United’s recent form he has a great chance of achieving those aims. After a tricky start that saw some supporters call for a change in management they are now firmly in automatic promotion contention – and White is convinced that more is to come.
“It’s going well for us right now and after a difficult opening month or two we’re right where we’d like to be,” said White, who had a spell on loan at Roots Hall in the 2009-10 season.
“And a lot of that is down to the gaffer. He’s not had a lot of money to throw about but he’s creating a unit that he wants and a style that he wants us to play and he’s stuck to that.
“We’re trying to play football the right way, not always the case in this division.
“He could easily have changed it when the pressure was rising but he’s been first class. He’s great with the players and there’s a growing spirit.
“The gaffer was one of the main reasons I signed in the summer when it was time for a fresh challenge.
“It wasn’t too far from Colchester but I’m more than familiar with the area. I was brought up in Rochford, which isn’t too far away, and thought I’d move closer as anyone who lives around here knows how much hassle the A12 can be.
“I didn’t think I’d be as close as I am to the stadium and training ground but I’ve certainly got no excuses to be late these days – probably the best way as captain!”
White was given the armband by Brown, who persuaded the 27-year-old to end his nine-year stay with the U’s, in the summer after an impressive pre-season. The right-back admits it was a shock to get the nod to replace the departed Chris Barker, who joined Aldershot in the summer, but is relishing the added responsibility.
“The captaincy was something that hadn’t crossed my mind when I signed as I’m nowhere near the loudest in the group but when Phil called me in and asked me, it was a huge honour and something I was more than happy to take on,” added White.
“I knew from my loan spell here what a good club it was so to be trusted to lead them on the pitch was great.
“There was the odd worry or two that it would affect my game but I’d like to think it’s improved me as a player. I’d rather lead by example than rant and rave, and hopefully I’m doing that.
“I’m even starting to get used to all the organising and other things that comes with captaincy, it’s certainly keeping me busy.”
Key to the Shrimpers’ fine form has been a host of youngsters who have come to the fore in recent months with
goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and midfielder Ryan Leonard their star performers.
Although as White admits they could do with keeping 11 players on the pitch more regularly. In the wins over York and Portsmouth in the last week they’ve had Kevan Hurst and Cauley Woodrow sent off before going on to win.
“It shouldn’t happen but it’s taken us going down to ten to really get us going. A siege mentality brings the best out of us,” added White.
“A few teams did try to bully us at the start of the season with the way we were playing and the younger lads we had but they’ve grown so much in stature since then.
“And they can still get better. I see the talent they have in training every day. There’s nothing to frighten us in this division and we’ve got to keep building.
“There’s not a great deal between League One and Two apart from fewer clubs possess quality that can change games.
“I believe we’re one of the teams that has that quality.”