Rob Hall is aiming to complete a rare win double when he represents England at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals in Georgia next month.
The West Ham United forward was part of the Young Lions squad that won the Under-17 version of the same competition in the summer of 2010. Two years later, Hall and his team-mates will travel to eastern Europe confident of repeating that achievement.
With England being given a bye until the final Elite Round of qualifiers, Hall was not involved, but he did prove his pedigree at Under-19 level by scoring the winner in a 1-0 international victory over Denmark in November.
Having made his Hammers first-team debut last term, the 18-year-old is also eager to catch the eye of Sam Allardyce while on England duty in the hope of earning playing time now West Ham are back in the Barclays Premier League.
The promising forward spoke to whufc.com ahead of what promises to be an exciting 2012/13 season.
How do you feel to have been selected for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship this summer?
RH - I am looking forward to it. We have got a strong squad and players with a lot of experience. It should be a very competitive tournament because we're in a harder group than when we won it as Under-17s. I believe we can do well, though.
What are your expectations ahead of the tournament?
RH - We will take every game as it comes, game-by-game, like we did when we won it as Under-17s. We will not get too excited if we win and will try to do exactly what we did two years ago. Obviously we will all be there to try to impress, both our England coach and our club managers. I want to go back to West Ham feeling fit and sharp because I'm determined to do well. It will be difficult to win the tournament but hopefully we can play well individually and as a team and do the country proud.
Do you expect it to be a battle to get into the starting line-up or do you see yourself being utilised as an impact substitute?
RH - I was not involved in the final round of qualifiers, but I had had a phone call and was told I would be involved in the final tournament if we got through. I have played one game before at Under-19 level against Denmark back in November and I scored the winner, so I know I can play at this level and do well. I have only recently returned from holiday and I did feel a bit leggy when I started training again, but that has quickly disappeared and I'm feeling fit and sharp again. When we won the Under-17 tournament I started one game and was used as a substitute in all the others, so I had a big part to play. Everyone goes to the tournament with a point to prove and wanting to be involved and whatever part I have to play, I'll be doing my best.
Which other England players should viewers watch out for at the European Under-19 Championship finals?
RH - My friend Nathaniel Chalobah is a year younger than us, but he is a fantastic and versatile player. We played against his Chelsea team in the FA Youth Cup when he scored a last-minute equaliser and they beat us on penalties, so hopefully he can cheer me up rather than breaking my heart this time around! We've got lots of good players. George Thorne from West Brom and Conor Coady from Liverpool are real prospects and Nathan Redmond played loads of games for Birmingham's first team last season.
How would you rate the season you have just had? What are your targets for next season with West Ham now back in the Barclays Premier League?
RH - It was definitely more of an 'up' season than a 'down' one. Hopefully this coming year I can do even more. I would like to think that I am not too far away from taking the next step, but we have not been back in at West Ham yet this summer, so I don't know exactly what that means for me yet. This will be my first season as a professional age-wise so it's an exciting time for me. I cannot sit on last season's achievements any longer, because every year you are starting from scratch. If I get the call to play for West Ham, I feel I have got the ability and the confidence to play and not look out of place. It's up to me to show the manager that. I feel that, when I have been used in the past, I have done well and he can have the confidence to use me again. There are always rumours about the club signing new playersbut if I can get the chance to show what I can do, then the manager will not need to buy anybody or bring anyone in on loan.
Will you look to go out on loan again next season?
RH - I cannot thank Oxford United enough for the confidence they gave me last season. The manager Chris Wilder and Andy Melville there took me under their wing and said 'You have got great ability so go out there and show what you can do'. I was playing week-in, week-out and it meant I was not afraid to try things. I was 17 and they gave me the confidence to show them that I could play and I was scoring goals and setting things up. Because of them, I was making headlines that maybe a 17-year-old doesn't normally make. If the manager feels that I could benefit from going out on loan then I would be happy to do so. I spent a bit of time at MK Dons and got a little taste of League One and I would obviously love to play regularly at a higher level than I have done before, but the main thing is that I just want to be playing football.