Steve Potts believes there are a number of players in his U21s side who could go on to reach the very top.
West Ham’s current group of U21s had a very successful season last year, winning the FA youth cup as well as their league and their impressive form has continued into this season. They topped their Bristol Street Motors Trophy group, beating all three of their professional opponents.
Head coach Steve Potts was clearly delighted with his side’s start to the competition. I think the first game was the key to it,” he told WHUFC.com. “Bristol Rovers away was a tough game for us, but as soon as we came through that you start to look at it and think you need one win from two to get through. To get wins in both [at Newport County and Cheltenham] was brilliant, though. So fair play to the boys.”
“When we are getting chances to go at opposition we are looking to attack them quickly,” Potts explained. “Against Cheltenham, that was the case. We got after the ball and we had opportunities which we took too.”
One thing that the coaching staff have repeatedly stated is that they are beyond impressed with how hardworking this group of youngsters are, and the former West Ham player was keen to reiterate his admiration of this. “The boys give a lot in training each day,” he confirmed.
“We give them a little bit of structure in terms of how we want to play but ultimately it is down to them in terms of what they put in. That’s the thing that has got me is how hard this group works to get the performances and the results. What they have got to do is keep that workrate to get better and better.”
“It is just a case of trying to keep pushing the players to improve and get to where they want to get to. They want to be professional footballers. And that is not easy nowadays. They have got to keep coming in each day and working at their game, trying to get better and better. But so far that is what they have done this season.”
He concluded by saying: “People ask me questions. Who’s the one? Who’s the next one that’s going to make it? But, honestly, it’s a hard answer to give and a player to pick because there are a number of them who have got real chances!”
Everyone involved with the Hammer’s U21s can not speak highly enough of them. Even with a lot of their key players from last season out on loan, they still continue to push the boundaries and exceed expectations. It can only be so long before some of them begin to get opportunities to prove themselves in the first team.
This could be the generation to well and truly prove that West Ham still deserve the title of ‘The Academy of Football’, they just need to be given the chance to do so.
By Charlie Bass