U23s kick-off pre-season with Barnet clash
West Ham United’s U23 squad return to action when their pre-season schedule kicks-off at Barnet on Saturday.
Terry Westley’s Hammers enjoyed a successful 2016/17 campaign, winning promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1 via a thrilling Play-Off win over Newcastle United in May.
West Ham’s young professionals face a busy season ahead, with Westley’s squad competing in Premier League 2, Checkatrade Trophy, Premier League International Cup and Premier League Cup – but the Academy Director believes his players need to be tested if they are to develop into top-class professionals.
“We are trying to give them the best opportunity to play against the strongest possible opposition and that is why we have set up pre-season matches against teams like Barnet,” Westley confirmed.
“We are making it as tough as we can because they need to be tested.”
We are trying to give them the best opportunity to play against the strongest possible opposition and that is why we have set up pre-season matches against teams like Barnet
Barnet will compete in EFL League Two this season and have kicked-off their own pre-season in impressive fashion, beating Premier League Swansea City at The Hive in midweek.
Tickets for the fixture will be available on matchday in the North Stand and East Stand (blocks F-H), priced at £10 for Adults, £5 for O65s and 18-21s and just £1 for U17s. Alternatively, supporters can book online here until 2.30pm on Saturday 15 July.
After Saturday’s fixture, the U23s will travel to Barnet’s League Two rivals Colchester United on Tuesday 18 July at 7.45pm, before making the short trip to National League side Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday 22 July at 3pm.
Westley will use the pre-season matches to assess his playing squad, with a view to which remain with the U23s and which are allowed to leave the Hammers on loan.
“Those who do go out on loan will go to clubs in the Championship or League One, as playing at that level will benefit their development,” he confirmed. “As always, it is about finding the right club for each player.
“With others, we will take the decision that they will stay with us as we feel they will benefit more from our own games programme, and give them the opportunity to prove they can play U23 football.
“All in, it is a very exciting time and there is more for our youngsters to look forward to than ever this season.”
Finally, Westley wished Academy stars Nathan Trott and Domingos Quina luck as the duo prepare for Saturday’s UEFA Euro U19 final between England and Portugal.
“Nathan and Domingos played a big part in our promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1 last season and they now have the chance to enjoy more success,” he observed.
“Obviously only one of them can end on the winning side, but they can both be proud of their efforts and achievements.”