Tony Stokes is a combative but creative midfielder with an eye for goal who has impressed in coming through West Ham United's youth ranks in recent years.
He made his first-team debut in September 2005 as a substitute in a League Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday. He then spent time later that season on loan at Rushden and Diamonds, playing 19 times. Another loan followed in August 2006 at Brighton and Hove Albion that saw him make get six league games under his belt.
Stokes returned to the Boleyn Ground and some solid reserve-team displays early in the 2007/08 season raised hopes that he could force his way into Alan Curbishley's first-team reckoning - not least a stunning volley in a 2-2 draw against Arsenal. He went on loan to Conference side Stevenage Borough in November 2007, with former England Under-21 manager Peter Taylor seeing plenty of potential.
Upon his return to West Ham United for the closing stages of the 2007/08 season, Stokes regained the reserve-team captaincy he had held in the previous campaign with Jack Collison's promotion to first-team duties. He also more than impressed in the end of season tour to the Hong Kong soccer sevens, scoring several goals and leading a youthful team. Stokes agreed another one-year deal at the end of the campaign and remains a positive example for the youngsters coming through.