Freddie Sears has told WHUTV about his dream of making it into the first team at West Ham United.
"I am a West Ham fan," the 18-year-old striker said. "It would be great to run out to the fans. It would just be unbelievable." Sears is earning rave reviews this season for his form for the Under-18s - he scored again at the weekend - and Kevin Keen's reserves although there is justified recognition all round that it is still very much early days in the youngster's Boleyn Ground career.
The in-form striker will hope to figure for the reserves again this evening alongside Zamora when Keen's side go to Tottenham Hotspur. The duo were an effective partnership last Wednesday when the reserves won 2-0 at home against Fulham. The match seemed destined to finish goalless until Zamora's vision set Sears away to win a penalty that he then stepped up to convert.
"It is great playing with Premiership players like Bobby Zamora," Sears said. "I played with Craig Bellamy at the start of the season and they both talk to you and really help your game. It is better, they really help you out." Recognising that he is learning every week by training with the first team, the Hornchurch-based England youth international is hoping his form will get wider attention.
"I have just got to keep getting noticed. I am on the fringes at the minute. I just need a chance or if not then maybe I will get some first-team experience somewhere else. It is going good so I have just got to hope for the best really. You have got to come into the reserves and score goals, just like I have been doing in the Under-18s."
Against Fulham, Sears showed his versatility, and electric pace, by beginning on the right wing but was pushed through the middle for the last half-hour and it was there that he made his mark up against defender Ian Pearce. It was the former Hammers centre-back that brought Sears down in the 83rd minute. "I felt more comfortable up front," he said. "One breakaway and I won a penalty. I pushed it in front of him and he took me and then took the ball afterwards.
"It was definitely a penalty," he added, before describing how the biggest worry was not the pressure of taking the kick but of keeping talented young midfielder Junior Stanislas from the ball. "I wanted it. I saw Junior running over but I wouldn't let him have it. He has missed the last two [for the U18s] - we are always fighting for the ball. The keeper tried leaving me more of a space but I knew. I read him and put it the other way."
Zavon Hines sealed a "great win for the boys" in the dying seconds and the manner of Sears' performance earned plenty of praise from Keen. "I am pleased for Freddie," he said. "He has got that pace. He has got a very good football brain to go with it. You see plenty of players around with pace but if you ally that with a football brain that's clever, then you have got one hell of a player. We sincerely hope and think the Academy has unearthed another jewel."
That said, Keen like Alan Curbishley, knows caution is key at this level with plenty of time on Sears' side. "We have just got to take it easy. He is only a young lad. He will be an Under-19 next year, he needs to get experience of reserve games and see how quickly we can improve and strengthen him. He is a little lad but he has got a little bit of bite about him. We are hopeful."
Log on or register with WHUTV to hear more from Sears and see all the highlights from the reserves' win. You can also see his recent goalscoring spree for the U18s.