SHAMAL George has set his sights on competing for a starting spot with Colchester United.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper joined the U’s on a two-year deal from Premier League champions Liverpool, last month.

George knows he will have to battle hard for the number one spot with Dean Gerken, who he says was one of the reasons he joined Colchester.

But the 6ft 3in keeper is ambitious – and wants to nail down a spot in Steve Ball’s starting line-up.

George said: “I’m ambitious to play and I want to challenge for that number one spot.

“With Colchester, I’m just looking to get some first-team games under my belt.

“I’m 22 now and have been on loan twice which helped me but now I’m looking to push on.

“I went on loan at a young age, so I feel like I have a lot behind me already.

“I’d just turned 18 when I went to Carlisle on loan and I was at Tranmere on loan, too.

“I’m really happy to be here and looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I enjoyed playing over pre-season and getting to know the lads and now I’m just looking forward to playing my part throughout the season.

“There are exciting times ahead.”

George is competing with experienced shot-stopper Gerken for a starting spot at Colchester.

But while the pair are rivals for a first-team place, George says the former Ipswich Town keeper is one of the main reasons he signed for the U’s.

“I’ve already enjoyed training with Dean Gerken, who I’ve learnt a lot from already,” said George, who made his U’s debut in their EFL Trophy defeat at Portsmouth, last week.

“He’s also one of the reasons I signed here – he’s a very experienced keeper and I feel he can teach me a lot.

“I already feel like I’m getting better in certain aspects of my game, since being here.”

George spent 13 years at Liverpool, having joined them as a nine-year-old back in 2007.

The Birkenhead-born goalkeeper trained with the likes of Alisson and Adrian during his time at Anfield and is hoping to bring the knowledge he gained from that experience to the U’s.

He added: “I was at Liverpool for 13 years.

“I had time with the first team there and had a really good experience, so hopefully bring something to the team here.”