17-year-old West Ham U18 captain Tyron Akpata is thrilled to have signed his first professional contract at the London Stadium.

In an interview with the official West Ham website, Akpata said: “It’s a great feeling to sign this contract, and I’m so chuffed to start a new chapter at West Ham United as a professional footballer.

I’ve been here for a few years now, which does make it extra special. I’ve worked under some different coaches, who have all helped me massively with my development, and I hope I can continue growing in the future.

I’m really excited about the new season. I’m just going to get my head down, try and play as many games as I can for the U21s, and do my best to make the biggest impact possible.”

Born in Dagenham, Akpata has become an important part of the Hammers’ youth setup since joining the club’s U15’s. He was also part of the U18 side that claimed the U18 Premier League South and FA Youth Cup double in 2022/23.

Akpata wore the armband for the 2023/24 Youth Cup campaign, the midfielder is known for the energy and leadership he provides on the pitch.

The left-footed midfielder said: “My parents have done countless things for me since I was young, so signing a pro deal is a really proud moment for all of us. All I can do is keep working hard to try and repay them.

“I’m over the moon to join my friends – like Josh [Briggs] and Dan [Rigge] – in signing a pro contract. It’s a great group, and we’re going to have some good times ahead.

“It was really nice to see George and Kaelan get given a chance last season, and that does help give you belief about what could happen in the future. I’m just going to give everything I’ve got for this Club.”