Sonny Perkins: I’m getting advice from the best at West Ham United
Sonny Perkins is determined to make the most of his opportunity to impress at West Ham United.
The forward, who started for the U23s in the 3-0 victory over Leeds United on Monday, has found himself also regularly training with David Moyes’ first-team in recent weeks. The 17-year-old made his first team debut off the bench in November and earned his first start in the Europa League home clash with Dinamo Zagreb last month.
It marks an incredible progression for a teenager who began the 2021/22 season playing in the West Ham U18s.
The young forward has been looking to implement what he has been taught during his time with the first team in U23 matches as he continues his journey through the West Ham United Academy.
I’m keen to listen to any advice I get because there are not many better people to get advice from than the people here now.
“Getting advice from the first team staff and players who have played at the top level is extremely helpful, and I’m grateful for that,” Perkins told whufc.com. “I want to keep pushing on. I don’t want that one game to be a one-off. I want to keep improving and be around that group even more.
“I’m still young so I think I’ve got so much more to give and learn. I’m keen to listen to any advice I get because there are not many better people to get advice from than the people here now.”
Signed as an attacking midfielder, Perkins has found himself deployed as the U23s striker; a role he has also assumed in his outings for the first team. Perkins has netted five times in Premier League 2 Division 1 fixtures so far this campaign.
The youngster knows there is much more to leading the line than just being the guy to score the goals, though.
He continued: “I think I’ve learned a lot in different types of games. Especially in this position because different games bring different challenges. I think the Leeds game was a pretty tough game, because there was a lot of running and a lot of pressing.
“In a way, I was probably doing too much in the first half because of how we set up. Maybe that’s why we needed to change it at half-time, but that’s why we need to learn different games. You might not be on the ball as much, but you’ve got to do a job for the team, which is part of the role.”
Perkins himself did not get on the scoresheet on Monday but put in an immense shift as finishes from Pierre Ekwah, Conor Coventry and Armstrong Okoflex secured the 3-0 victory over Leeds and consolidated the Hammers’ place at the top of the table.
“I think it was a tough game, especially in the first half,” Perkins said. “Leeds had a lot of possession and a lot of the ball, but I think we changed it at half-time in terms of how we press and how we were going to try and win it back, because we knew we couldn’t let them have that much of the ball.
“We knew how important it was going to be to get the result against Leeds and keep up our momentum, so we stayed top of the league.
“Lead Coach Mark Robson often talks about not just being in control when you’re in possession but also when you’re out of possession. I think we did that in the second half against Leeds.
“We had good control of the ball but, when they were looking to play out, they didn’t really have an answer to what we were doing to stop that. The team did well with how we changed our shape out of possession, in order to stop them playing through us.
“We managed to take control of the game, as we want to do, and in the end it was a comfortable win. But we had to work for it, perhaps more than the score-line shows.”