Though Pelly Ruddock joined West Ham United a box-to-box midfielder, the former Boreham Wood youngster is now getting to grips with the demands of playing centre-half, as he continues to impress in the Development Squad.

Ruddock, who made the switch from Boreham Wood in December 2011, has now started each of the Hammers' last seven Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures, having earlier featured six times as a substitute.

The 19-year-old took his place in an unfamiliar back-three in Friday's 1-0 reverse to Southampton, alongside first-year scholar Amos Nasha and second-year Frazer Shaw. Though West Ham were to come unstuck, Ruddock played a considerable part in another accomplished defensive display.

"It was different [playing in a back three], you've got to have that in your armoury to play different positions, so it was alright and I felt we played well," he told West Ham TV.

"We were very solid, firstly the back three worked well and then went to the back four, which also worked well. We were unlucky to concede and we felt very strong at the back.

"Amos and Frazer were good. Being so young, first and second years, it's a good experience for them and just helps them with their development. It was a good performance by our boys, unlucky for it to be 1-0 but hopefully next game we can correct that."

As for his new-found role at the heart of the back line, Ruddock is embracing the experience, confirming he is very much learning on the job. Meanwhile, the teenager remains hopeful that his performances might lead to a first-team bow before too long.

"I'm adapting to centre-back well," he added. "It's just another position that I can play, showing the manager what I can do. Central midfield is my natural position, but I'll happily play at centre-back.

"I'm playing well. Game by game I'm learning more and on the training pitch, learning from other players so it's good at the moment. Hopefully I can make the bench or play a senior game for the first team, and go on from there, but we'll see how that goes."

Looking ahead to next Tuesday's trip to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ruddock is targeting a third win of their Elite Group campaign, with one eye on closing the gap on runaway leaders Tottenham Hotspur.

"Hopefully we can get another three points there and climb up the table. It's possible to catch Spurs, it was a close game between us, so hopefully they slip up and we can get more points on the table."

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