MARK Bentley has revealed why Alex Stephenson has departed Canvey Island.

The central defender left the Gulls by mutual consent on Monday.

And Bentley is keen to bring in some fresh faces after Stephenson’s time at Canvey came to an end.

“We have released Alex in order to free up some budget to cover other positions and to also allow him to play some more regular football,” said Gulls boss Bentley.

“Alex is a good lad and has done well for us.

“I wish him all the best for the future.”

Stephenson started the campaign as Canvey’s first choice central defender alongside summer signing Mike Finneran.

However, after struggling to keep clean sheets as the Gulls bid for an Isthmian North play-off spot, the duo lost their places in the side last month.

Having recovered from a long-term injury he sustained last term, Stephenson made 27 appearances for Canvey this season, scoring once.

But Stephenson was also an unused substitute on six occasions.

And Stephenson, who counts Billericay Town among his former clubs, took to social media to confirm he is already itching to get back onto the pitch.

Stephenson tweeted: “I want to wish everyone at Canvey all the best.

“There are some great players and people there.

“Onwards and upwards from here on out.

“I can’t wait to be back out on that pitch soon.”

Stephenson’s game-time reduced significantly after Bentley completed the signing of central defender Darren Phillips at the turn of the year.

Phillips, who also counts Tilbury among his former clubs, made the move from Isthmian North rivals Basildon United as Gulls chief Bentley looked to bolster his defensive options.

James White, who is more comfortable when featuring in midfield, has also made a number of appearances at the heart of Canvey’s defence as Bentley searched for a way to keep more clean sheets.

It took the Gulls 16 Isthmian North outings to notch their first shutout of the campaign, which came at play-off chasing Bury Town.

And Stephenson has now moved on as he seeks more regular action.