West Ham Academy star Dan Chesters is working hard to make further steps towards the senior team this season.
Chesters has been embracing his new position as a full back as the Hammer’s look to have another great season in the Premier League 2.
West Ham’s U21s had an immense year. They finished top of the league as well as winning the FA Youth Cup and, as a result, proved the Academy of Football is still producing some of the country’s most exciting talents.
One such talent is 20-year old Dan Chesters. The youngster has played in an attacking role for most of his career but, recently, he’s been flourishing as a right wing-back.
It’s a position that, he believes, let’s him show off his best attributes. “I think it’s a really good position for me,” Chesters stated. “It lets me express myself and get into 1v1s with the opposition full-back so I can show my skills and attack them.”
“You have that time and space to take players on. A lot of influence on the game as you see a lot of the ball, more of the ball than when you are on the wing.”
His incredible form in this new role has been key to the U21s great start to the season, where they’ve won 4 games in a row.
Dan is just one of many incredible prospects we’ve got in our ranks, but lead coach Steve Potts rates him extremely highly. “With Dan, he’s naturally an attacking player,” Potts confirmed. “When you play him at wing-back you know what you are going to get. He is going to do his defensive duties but really you want him going forward as much as he can.”
While the youth side are blessed with many great attacking players, it’s the solidarity and consistency of the defenders that allow the wing-backs to attack like they do, and this is something that Chesters appreciates while adapting to his new position.
“It’s hard to learn a more defensive role for me,” he confessed, “because I am used to playing on the wing or midfielder but with Levi [Laing] next to me, it helps because he’s a good communicator.” He continued to say that teammates “Patrick Kelly and Lewis Orford are really solid players which gives you a free license to attack more.”
Last season, Dan started to make his mark on the first team, making two appearances under David Moyes. He hopes that his versatility is something that will present more opportunities for him to push for the first team. “I am enjoying the challenge a lot and hopefully, it leads to more chances with the first team,” adding that “I just want to keep showing what I can do in that position.”
It’s an extremely exciting time to be a West Ham fan, not only are the first team doing well but we’ve got so many quality young players who genuinely could make it at the top level.
It’s going to be interesting to see, firstly, which ones get more experience under David Moyes this season, and, secondly, how well the youth team can do after their outstanding achievements last year. Who knows what will happen, Dan Chesters could get his big break into the starting XI and never look back, he’s certainly got the quality to do so.
By Charlie Bass