Hines shows his variety

Zavon Hines is having a purple patch in front of goal and is enjoying every minute of his good form during pre-season.

Despite five goals in five games, the 19-year-old striker still has his feet firmly on the ground and is simply looking to learn and improve in every match he plays. Hines scored his third penalty of the pre-season, when he put a West Ham United XI ahead in a 2-1 loss against Grays Athletic at the weekend. He had rounded out the scoring the night before in the 2-2 draw at Southampton with perhaps his best strike to date this summer.

That goal followed previous strikes against Hampton and Richmond Borough, Thurrock and Billericay. For Hines, who has come through West Ham's acclaimed youth academy, it is just where he wants to be but he knows there is a way to go before putting pressure on the first-choice forwards. "I have been waiting a long time to be at this point of my career. I have got chances in these matches and have taken them," said the south London-born forward.

"I want to keep scoring, but I am also aware that it's not just about scoring goals, I have to make sure I am improving myself in every game. It's about the whole performance." That said, it is his prowess in front of goal that has given him extra confidence to offer more to the team.

 That was underlined in the way he imposed himself at St Mary's after entering the fray as a replacement for Carlton Cole. "Valon [Behrami] crossed the ball and I heard Julien [Faubert] call for it behind me," said Hines. "But I have been told to be more selfish when I am around the box, so I just kept the ball and took a shot. I was so excited to see it go in.

"I am just looking forward to every game. The manager has told me I have done well and we have also talked about things I don't do well yet, which is good, because you learn from your mistakes. I am just trying to take it all in and get better in each game that comes along."