England Under-19 defender Jordan Spence will get a chance to further his development with a month-long loan at Leyton Orient.
The Chigwell-based youngster could make his debut for the League One club when Orient go to Bradford City in the FA Cup second round this weekend. Spence played at the Matchroom Stadium for West Ham United reserves earlier this month in a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.
The 18-year-old was part of the first-team squad that travelled to North America in the summer before being an unused substitute for the first three games of the season. He has continued to gain reserve-team experience and, at international level, he helped England last month to qualify for the Elite round of the 2009 European U19 Championship.
Spence is one of the brightest young defensive talents in the country. He had the honour of captaining England to the U17 World Cup quarter-finals in late summer 2007, having guided England to the European U17 Championship final earlier in the year. During those finals in South Korea, Spence scored a late winning goal against Brazil - the first time England had beaten their South American rivals in a FIFA tournament.
He becomes the third homegrown Hammer out on loan at League One clubs with Josh Payne and Bondz 'Gala at Cheltenham Town and MK Dons respectively, while Nigel Quashie has just agreed a second month at Birmingham City. The 18-year-old midfielder Payne and Spence could be on opposite sides on Saturday 13 December when Cheltenham head to Orient for a league encounter.