Kwame Poku can challenge for a first-team place at Colchester United next season.
That’s the view of Worthing coach Aarran Racine after the starlet made the move to the League Two outfit.
A number of standout performances from the emerging prospect during his short spell at Woodside Road alerted U’s scouts.
And after impressing while on trial with the club at the end of last season, Poku signed his first professional contract and is set to join up with Colchester’s under-23 team later this summer.
But former Forest Green Rovers skipper Racine believes the 18-year-old should be setting his sights higher.
Having come through Southampton’s Academy and spent time in the professional game himself, the Worthing coach insists Poku has the capabilities to fight for a Colchester first-team spot next season.
He said: “There’s no reason why Kwame can’t kick on with the under-23s and get into their first team next season.
“He’s shown potential and he could be doing that, we’re hoping he does.
“Kwame came to us halfway through the season and showed loads of potential.
“He hit the ground running in his first few games and just went on from there really.
“He can definitely go on and enjoy a career in the Football League, 100 per cent.
“Kwame can go on and do something with his career in the Football League and the professional game.”
But Racine has stressed the need for Poku to continue playing regularly if he is to carry on his rapid progress.
The starlet was handed his chance in senior football at Worthing, with Adam Hinshelwood granting him 12 appearances following his arrival from Cray Wanderers in February. Now Racine is hoping the talent is given a decent amount of game time next season.
He added: “Kwame just went from strength to strength after coming in, really. But game time at his age and even a little bit older at 20 or 21, I think that is the most important thing.
“We’re glad that he’s got the move, it’s just a case of him getting enough game time to kick on his career again.
“It’s important for him now going from us to an academy to continue to get minutes to progress their career, but fair play to him.”
Racine also believes the move is great recognition for Worthing.
Forward Omar Bugiel left the club for then National League outfit Forest Green back in 2016.
Coach Racine also pinpointed Reece Meekums making the move to Bromley at the end of last season after an loan spell at Woodside Road to show players the pathway at the club.
He added: “We say it all the time, but it’s an ambition of everyone at the club to create that pathway.
“There’s so much talent out there in Worthing.
“The club is proving there is that pathway. We’ve had Omar Bugiel, now Kwame and people like Reece Meekums who have come and gone a little bit higher.
“We’re hopefully getting recognised for that, long may that continue.”