Dan Potts completed an impressive personal pre-season by helping West Ham United win the Marathonbet Cup on Saturday.
The 20-year-old left-back was again to the fore as the Hammers twice came from behind to beat Italian Serie A side UC Sampdoria 3-2 at the Boleyn Ground.
Technically-gifted, committed and adding physical strength as he gets older, Potts added to his eye-catching displays in New Zealand and Germany after replacing the injured Aaron Cresswell on the half-hour mark.
Having helped the Hammers record their first win of the pre-season inside 90 minutes courtesy of fellow Academy graduate Reece Burke's last-gasp winner, Potts now has his eyes set on featuring in the Barclays Premier League opener at home to Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.
WATCH DAN POTTS' WEST HAM TV INTERVIEW NOW!
"I loved it," said the No27. "Obviously it's the only home game we've got in pre-season and I started on the bench, but Cressy picked up a knock and I got my chance and I really enjoyed it.
"I was on and then seeing Elliot Lee and Reece come on late on and not do themselves any harm either by combining for the winner, it was good for the Academy. More importantly, it was good to round-off the pre-season with a win.
"There have been little things about us having a 'winless pre-season up til now' and things like that, but pre-season isn't really about results. It's more about getting the fitness work in. We all love to win, though, and it was good to come off on the winning team."
Nearly three years after making his first-team debut in a Championship fixture with Barnsley, Potts signed a new contract in the summer and is now hoping to make his mark regularly at first-team level.
"It's coming up to three years now since my debut and I'm lucky to have got a few sniffs in the first team in this pre-season and hopefully I've done myself no harm," he observed. "Now, pre-season is over and I want to push on even further.
"The Premier League is where I want to play and, leading up to Tottenham, hopefully I can be in and around it next week and push on from there.
"I obviously wish Cressy well and hope it's not a bad injury, but I'd love to be in the squad next Saturday and even better on the pitch. I'll take each day as it comes."
While there has never been any doubt about Potts' technical ability, he has added a noticeable physical edge to his game. The defender, who suffered two concussions in accidental collisions at Southend United and Arsenal in recent seasons, has consciously decided to toughen up his game.
"You've got to give as much as you can and the fans here love to see it," he confirmed. "These are friendly matches, but when we went out to New Zealand they were kicking us up in the air and I think you've got to give it some yourself. You need to show your opponents they are in a game.
"It prepares you for the season ahead, because the Premier League is a physical league as much as it is a tactical and technical league. It's all part of the game."
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