Jack Collison has vowed to learn from the experience of facing Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
The Wales midfielder played a full part in the Hammers' encouraging performance against the Premier League champions on Sunday. However, a moment of magic from compatriot Giggs, who evaded two challenges before scoring the game's only goal after 62 minutes, proved to be the only difference between the two sides following a close-fought contest.
Afterwards, the 20-year-old was impressed by the displays of the 35-year-old Giggs and 34-year-old Scholes, both of whom were at the hub of the visitors' best moments at the Boleyn Ground.
"It was obviously a tough game. Coming up against Manchester United you know what to expect. They hadn't conceded a goal in 12 - now 13 - [Premier League] games so we knew it was going to be hard, but looking back on the game we were disappointed not to come out with more than nothing.
"I think we created a few half-chances but against a team like them it takes someone to take one of those half-chances to maybe put one over on them. It took something special to unlock us too. Ryan Giggs scored a great goal and, from a Welsh point of view, it's a bit of a shame he's retired [from international football] to be honest. He and Paul Scholes were fantastic.
"Scholes is someone I also look up to as he's been at the top his whole career. Trying to get close to him was a great experience for me. The way he keeps it simple and keeps the ball moving is something I can learn from."
Collison will swap club for country this week as Wales travel to Portugal for a warm-weather international friendly against Poland at the Vila Real De Santo Antonio Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon. There, the three-times capped midfielder is hoping to further his claims for a regular place in John Toshack's side.
"We're off to Portugal and are playing against Poland, which is a little bit weird, but it's another opportunity for me to cement my place in the Wales team. I've worked hard to get here and am just really enjoying it at the moment. It's exciting times ahead. If I can keep working hard I think there could be good things to come for myself and the team."