Anton's Youth System

DESPITE the defeat to Bolton on Saturday, Anton Ferdinand only enhanced his growing reputation with another flawless performance in the centre of defence.

The 20-year-old's display, which oozed class and confidence, drew praise from manager Alan Pardew, and now Anton is looking forward to progressing with the Hammers this season.

However, that will have to wait as he heads off along with Nigel Reo-Coker for England Under-21 duty this week. As Anton explains, the duo's presence in the England system underlines the amount of strong young players comprising Alan Pardew's Premiership squad.

"We've got a really promising young team now," explained Anton. "There are some good, experienced players in the mix as well, which you certainly need at this level.

"But if you look around the squad most of the lads are 25 and under, and that really is great for the future of the Club.

"There are also a lot of players, like myself, Elliott Ward and Mark Noble who have come through the Academy.

"This is a tight squad, everyone is pulling for each other and that's going to be important for the rest of the season."

Anton was disappointed not to have preserved Hammers undefeated start to the Premiership season against Bolton. Despite Bolton's 2-1 victory, the defender felt Hammers could be proud of the way they competed with the UEFA Cup qualifiers and admitted they deserved better.

"We were disappointed after the game because we were never second best and should have come away with something," he said. "It was always going to be a tough game against Bolton. They are a very underrated side, who can play good football as well as put you under a lot of pressure with set-pieces.

"We were a bit disappointed with the way we defended for their first goal, and the second came on the break when we were pushing trying to get back into the game.

"Still, the lads kept playing right to the end and might have sneaked a point right at the end. There is a great spirit in the squad and I think that showed it. The players are hungry to succeed at West Ham and don't know when they are beaten.

"We are probably going to be in a similar position again this season, but the way we responded to going behind proves that we have the determination to fight it out for points, home or away."

Anton now believes it's time to reflect on the whirlwind start to the season, which has seen West Ham United take four points from their opening three games.
It's a start many Hammers fans would have probably taken before the start of the season, but Anton has not been surprised with the way the team have started the campaign.

"Pre-season was really good and we were buzzing coming into this season," he said. "Everyone just couldn't wait to get going. There were no nerves, we just wanted to get stuck in and show what we could do.

"That has given us the platform to take teams on in these opening three games and now we need to take stock and build on that.

"We're settling down into the season now and these two weeks will be a good chance to take a look back at the way we've been playing and get some solid preparation in for the next game against Aston Villa."