Throughout his West Ham United career, Elliot Lee has made his name by setting himself and then scoring goals - lots of them.

The prolific 18-year-old has long been considered one of the hottest prospects within the Academy of Football, netting 14 times in 26 appearances for the Hammers' U21 and U18 sides last season.

Lee's promise and potential were rewarded by a call-up to Sam Allardyce's first-team squad in January 2013, just a month past his 18th birthday. The forward sat on the bench for the FA Cup third-round draw with Manchester United and Barclays Premier League defeat at Sunderland before making his bow as a substitute in front of 71,081 fans in the replay at Old Trafford.

The teenager continued his development by joining Big Sam's squad on their recent tour to Germany, featuring against 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Eintracht Braunschweig, before returning to Development Squad duty at Southend United on Monday evening.

There, he produced an eye-catching performance as Nick Haycock's team were harshly beaten 1-0, but Lee is not about to let one goalless evening ruin his burgeoning career.

"I think the lads played really well and passed it around the pitch, as Nick said to us afterwards, but it was unfortunately one of those days when the ball didn't want to go into the back of the net, especially for me!" Lee, who is set to feature in Saturday's pre-season match at AFC Hornchurch, told West Ham TV.

"Definitely, as a striker you always want to be in the right position. You start to worry when you don't get the chances, but I'm still getting them.

"I know I can score goals, so I'll just put it down to being one of those days. Hopefully I'll get my misses out [of the way] in pre-season and I'll start scoring soon."

Monday's game at Roots Hall saw the reigning Academy Player of the Year deployed as a deep-lying forward in a 4-4-1-1 formation - a role different from his normal position as a central striker. Again, he does not mind having to be flexible if it means he is on the pitch.

"It's just another string to my bow, really. I can play as the frontman or I can play in behind big Paul McCallum.

"It helps me because I like getting the ball to feet, turning and running at defenders, so with the big man up there I can play off him and hopefully create chances and score goals."

Lee knows his immediate future lies in the U21 ranks, but his recent inclusion in the tour squad in Germany is a sign that first-team football is far from being an unrealistic ambition.

However, with the likes of McCallum, Ravel Morrison, Danny Whitehead and Sean Maguire all vying for a place alongside Andy Carroll and Modibo Maiga in Big Sam's squad, competition is set to be fierce.

"I had a great time out there in Germany. It was a really good experience to be around the likes of them and it was really good for me.

"I only got 20 minutes in two games, but it was still a good experience for me. Hopefully I can push on and try to get into that first-team squad.

"You saw with all the lads out there at Southend that we played brilliantly and passed it all over the park. We all want to get into that first-team squad, so competition only makes it better, really, when you've got to prove you are better than whoever you are up against."

While a regular first-team place remains Lee's long-term goal, he is looking forward to finding the net regularly this season, whoever he is playing for.

"I just want to keep scoring goals for the Under-21s, then I want to impress the Gaffer and see what he thinks of me and hopefully push on into the first team.

"I'm not saying 'No' to a loan move because, if the right club comes in, I'm definitely up for that. We'll just see what happens as the season goes on."

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