West Ham United's youngsters head to Germany on Thursday to take part in the Evonik Ruhr-International Cup.

The Dortmund-based tournament has drawn teams from all over Europe, as the Hammers continue to build for the season ahead with a varied pre-season schedule.

West Ham have taken a young squad for the tournament, which is for Under-19 teams, with age groups from U16s upwards represented in the Londoners' line-up.

The group stages take place across Thursday and Friday, with the weekend reserved for the knockout rounds.

First up on Thursday are two 40 minute matches, with Schalke 04 and Borussia Monchengladback West Ham's first day opponents.

Matches against Galatasaray and Israeli outfit Maccabi Netanya await on Friday, while the likes of hosts Borussia Dortmund and Benfica will battle it out in the other group.

Development Squad coach Nick Haycock believes the tournament will give the Hammers' young players an invaluable experience.

He said: "There's a good mix of Under-16s, 17s, 18s, 19s. The expectation is to try and be comeptitive in every game, and there's four or five U19 players - Kieran Bywater, Amos Nasha, Moses Maskasi, Jaanai Gordon and Nathan Mavila - and we've put the mantle on them to go and be the best player in the tournament.

"We want the reports coming back over the next three days that they've been the best player, and for the youngsters it's a great experience of playing against older opposition and continental styles.

"They'll get another experience which becomes part of their make-up."

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