Dominic Vose has become the latest promising youngster to sign his first professional contract with West Ham United.

The aspiring midfielder put pen to paper on his 17th birthday at the Boleyn Ground to seal a memorable couple of weeks after also playing his part in terrific wins for the Under-18s against Chelsea and Arsenal.

"It is a big day," he told WHUTV. "It is my birthday as well so it is a good feeling. I have been waiting a long time for this. Everyone around me is happy for me and I am happy for myself. My family have been right behind me."

Vose has relished working under Tony Carr since arriving at the club and admitted he would love to follow in some of the Academy Director's most famous graduates. Although the players he most admirers are Andres Iniesta and Zinedine Zidane, he takes a close interest in the homegrown Hammers who have gone on to great things with England.

"Tony has had all of them. He helps us, he gives us good advice and he has great experience in the game. It is really good to play under him.

"I've just got to crack on now. Hopefully I will make it to the first team. I wanted to sign for West Ham because there is a path here for young players. The likes of Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard - all of them have done it. There is a path here and hopefully I can follow that."

While he is aiming high, Vose is well aware he has to "get back to reality" and that includes college as usual on Wednesday and plenty of hard work in training.The matches are coming thick and fast for the resurgent U18s as well, with a game against Portsmouth this Friday and an FA Youth Cup date with Aldershot Town at the Boleyn Ground on 7 December.

"We had lost five on the bounce but we have just beaten big teams in Arsenal and Chelsea. I got my first goal of the season against Chelsea and hopefully we can turn everything around now.

"We'd like a good run in the FA Youth Cup. It is massive to play at Upton Park, hopefully we will have a good turnout with the crowd. It will be a good game.

"It is also a chance for us to impress the first-team coaches if they are watching. I have had a few reserve team games and it would be good to get back in there and push on. I've just got to crack on and do what I do best really. I have just got to get down to work."