Ephraim's England Experience

ACADEMY forward Hogan Ephraim returned from duty with the England Under-19s delighted to have gained more experience on the international youth stage.

The 17-year-old, who has been a regular at Reserve team level so far this season, is still eligable to play in the England Under-18s, but has made the jump up to Under-19 level and acquitted himself well.

Hogan said: "It was the first time for many for us to have linked up as a group, so it was a good experience. For me, it has been pretty much a jump straight from the England Under-17s to the Under-19s, so it was a good test for me.

"It was a good game and we scored three goals, which is impressive for any team at international level.

"You could tell from the match that the team hadn't played together a great deal and there are areas we will need to sharpen up on. But it was a good start and will give the England Under-19s something to build on."

 Hogan was accompanied on the international trip by Hammers team-mate Kyel Reid, and he admitted that it was good to have a fellow club-mate on the trip.

"It was the first time I had teamed up with Reidy at international level," he added, "and it was good to have him there. I have been away with James Tomkins before, but Reidy is in my age group, so that was good.

"And yes, he spent the whole trip smiling. He always does!"

Hogan and Kyel both played for an hour in the win over Belgium, and the Second Year scholar is now hoping to be picked for the Under-19s tournament in Poland in October.

"It would be great to go away and play in the tournament, so hopefully I can get into the squad and impress," he said. "I got about an hour against Belgium and Reidy got about five minutes more.

"It was a good work out and a great experience. We knew there would be changes, so to get an hour was really encourgaing and hopefully it will give me something to build on with England."