Last week Junior Stanislas was awarded the Bobby Moore
Young Player of the Year after an exceptional first term at Upton
Park which saw him fire in nine goals for the youth team and a
couple for the reserves, where he become a regular alongside more
We caught up with the young Hammer to get his thoughts on his first year at the Club and his aims and ambitions for next season………………..
Junior is a young man with a mission, a lot of determination and, as it has proved this season, an abundance of talent.
The youngster was voted the Bobby Moore Young Player of the Year Award, an accolade steeped in history thanks to the legend it's named after. It is also an award that is a personal triumph, as it is voted for by Junior's own team-mates.
And for a modest Junior, while it was not expected, it was happily received all the same.
"I am very pleased to be this season's Bobby Moore Young Player of the Year," he said. "I was surprised to get it though. I feel I have had a good season, but didn't think it would mean getting an award like this, so it has really finished off what has been a great season for me and the team.
"Tony (Carr) told me a couple of days before it was presented to me that I had won it, and I was delighted. It's an award that is given by my team-mates and the fact they chose me, is very nice and I appreciate it."
Junior was a regular in a successful youth team side that finished up runners-up to Arsenal in the league, no mean feat for any side.
"It has been a great season," he added. "I think
maybe we were just a bit tired in the last few games to go that bit
more. Most of us were playing two games a week with the reserves
and, while that is what we want to do, it can take its toll and it
probably showed in the last couple of results.
"But overall, we kept working hard all season to get where we did and it's been really enjoyable. I think one of our strengths was the spirit in the dressing room and on a few occasions that helped us to come from behind to win games."
For Junior, in his first year there was a lot to learn, but he took it all in his stride. Was it what he expected?
He said: "It has been tough, I think playing the amount of football we did, but I have enjoyed every match and goal. Scoring for the youth team has been a highlight for me.
"I didn't have any targets, only that I hoped to get to double figures. I grabbed nine league goals, just one behind Freddie (Sears), so that's not bad! And if you count the couple of goals I got in the reserves it means I finished with 11, so I did hit my target!
"My best goal? The one I got against Crystal Palace. It was a solo effort. I went from box to box and finished it off, all on my own!"
While he can look forward to a rest in the summer, Junior is already setting his sights on next season.
"I know that I have to push on now if I am to get better," he said. "I want to be in there training with the first team on a regular basis and then maybe just get into the squad.
"We have trained with the first team a few times and it has been great. Carlos Tevez has been one player I have loved to watch, so I would love a few one-on-one training sessions with him!
"I still have a lot to learn, but I want to be stronger and faster. While it will be harder next year, I have learnt a lot this season, which I hope will help me go to the next level."
Youth Academy Director Tony Carr has been delighted with Junior's progress. He said: "The award that Junior has received is a fantastic accolade for any young player.
"But he deserves it. Junior has weighed in with some goals, important ones when needed and some really good performances. He can be very pleased with his first year.
"Junior has set himself some high standards and what he has to do now is go on from this, for next year and the future. He has done very well and has the ability and the attitude to take this forward."
by Laura Burkin