Conveyor Belt Chris

Chris Cohen insists that he is just one of many youngsters who could break through the youth ranks into the first team at some stage.

Chris, who made his debut as a substitute for Matthew Etherington against Sunderland, is the second youngest West Ham player after Billy Williams in the '20s - though only by a matter of days.

Of that first taste of being in the seniors, he says:

"I thought it went all right though I was a bit nervous to start with, with everyone there - and it was quite an important time to come on.

"It was really tight but it was good to get the win."

He knows he is still learning, though, and says modestly:

"I am not going to be there every week but it is good to be involved with everyone and getting a feel of what it is like at the moment.

"I was surprised to come on against Sunderland just as I was surprised to be on the bench because I wasn't sure I would be on there - I only got told an hour before the kickoff, and it was a good feeling.

"It is just good to be involved at all, a bit of luck, and I am over the moon with everything.

"I wasn't expecting any of it but I know I am not going to be here all the time - it is just good to be involved, even if it is just one more time this season.

"It was a big step up at the start of the year to play in the reserves and then into the first team is a lot harder still - I could tell that just from 10 minutes."

Chris is keen, though, to extol the virtues of some of his young colleagues, and he smiles:

"There are loads, not just me; next week it might be someone else because there are a lot of people there or thereabouts in the reserves, and it is good to see so many good players coming through."

As for the expert guidance of Alan Pardew, he adds:

"He is making sure I keep my head down and is teaching me what I am doing wrong, giving me tips when I am doing something not right.

"I don't train with the first team every day, just when the gaffer calls me in and it is great because there are some amazing players who are just a joy to watch."

Chris was again on the bench on Saturday for the Walsall game, where he had the perfect view of Jermain Defoe's sending off against which the club are appealing.

"It was never a sending off the referee will rescind it hopefully - there is no way there is anything in it," he says.

"He has just done it out of frustration because he is annoyed with himself.

"It has made it hard for us to win the game but Marlon scored a quality goal and we just had to try and hang on.

"But overall it was a great performance."