A year ago, Pelly Ruddock was awaiting his first-team debut for Blue Square Bet South newcomers Boreham Wood.

Twelve months on and the midfielder was leading West Ham United's first team out as captain in a pre-season fixture against his old club.

Ruddock, 18, joined the Hammers in December 2011 after coming through the ranks at Meadow Park, where Boreham Wood run a successful PASE (Programme for Academic and Sporting Excellence) coaching scheme.

The youngster spoke of his pride at captaining the Hammers and his hopes of breaking into the first-team squad on a regular basis during the upcoming Barclays Premier League season.

"It was a good night. I thought we played well and it was good to come back to a place where it all started and I was proud to lead the team out," said Ruddock, who jetted off to Russia with the Development Squad for the VTB Lev Yashin Cup on Wednesday.

"I was surprised at first when the manager said I would be captain, but I thought I could lead the team out and show what I could do.

"The fans got to see what I can do so hopefully I can push on and see what the first-team manager thinks of me."

Ruddock was a regular in Ian Hendon's Development Squad following his arrival at West Ham, making 12 appearances, while he also turned out for the Club's Under-18 side in the FA Premier Academy League.

The youngster admitted the style of football was different from that he experienced in the Blue Square Bet South during the opening half of the 2011/12 season, but felt he had adapted well to his new surroundings.

"I thought the change was easier than I thought. I've been training every day, putting the work in and it's been really good.

"I'm going to keep pushing in the reserves and I hope the first-team manager likes me and hopefully I can push on from there."

Ruddock also had words of praise and thanks for Boreham Wood - the club he joined as an Under-16, who funded his coaching and education and paved the way for his big move to West Ham eight months ago.

"Boreham Wood have got some good players and they like to play football, which is strange for a team in the Blue Square Bet South. I thought they represented their league well against us on Tuesday.

"They bring in the youngsters, educate them as well by putting them through college and train three times a week, so it's a good system to go through and it is paying off."

*Pelly Ruddock is part of the Development Squad which has travelled to Moscow for the VTB Lev Yashin Cup this week. Reaction, reports and highlights from Russia will appear on whufc.com and West Ham TV.

West Ham TV