West Ham United are pleased to announce the signing of highly-rated Republic of Ireland youth international striker Terry Dixon on a three-year contract.
The 19-year-old forward put pen to paper after proving his fitness with the club in recent months. Dixon had been released by Tottenham Hotspur in March 2008 after concerns over past problems with his right knee. With West Ham United having made significant improvements to the medical set-up at Chadwell Heath and after a two-month spell with a knee specialist in Belgium, Dixon was invited to work with the club's specialists to make use of their advanced approach to rehabilitation.
The medical team including head of rehabilitation Giorgio Gasparini have worked tirelessly during his recovery and have also been rewarded by the Archway-born player's dedication to proving he still has what it takes to make it at the highest level. Dixon's right knee has now been fully assessed and he just requires conditioning work to prepare himself for a playing return in the hope of catching Gianfranco Zola's eye.
Dixon was highly regarded a youth player and represented Ireland at every level before being called up to the full squad at 16 by the then manager Steve Staunton in May 2006, who at the time described him as a 'special talent'. He was then named on the bench for his country's friendly against Chile that month and was rewarded for his progress by being named Ireland's Under-17 Player of Year for 2006.
The flame-haired striker, who cites Wayne Rooney as his favourite player, is delighted to have committed his future to West Ham United and is looking forward to getting back on the pitch.
"I'm pleased to have signed the contract and I'm glad to have got it sorted," Dixon said. "I'm back in training next week and hopefully I want to push on to the first team towards the end of the season. I'm so relieved to be back to fitness as it's just so annoying to have those niggles because you have been out for so long.
"My aims for this season are to get matches under my belt for the reserves and if I do well there, hopefully I can get into the first-team squad. I want to repay the faith the club have shown in me, if not this season then season after."
Dixon also paid tribute to the medical team at Chadwell Heath that has aided his comeback. "The fitness team have done a lot of work with me to make my leg a lot stronger and my knee never swells up now. It's just like my other one, it feels fine. I'm just glad West Ham took the chance on me and hopefully it will pay off. I'd like to thank Christian Lattanzio and Giorgio Gasparini for all the work they have done."
West Ham United CEO Scott Duxbury said: "This signing is a testament to our medical and technical departments for all the work they have put in to get Terry to this point. He has worked very hard in the past few months and we have all been impressed with his determination to start playing again. His talent is undoubted.
"We know that Tottenham felt they had reached the end of the road with Terry but we are hopeful he can yet prove himself and build a successful career. He is certainly in the best place to do that and I am sure if anyone can get the best out of him it will be Gianfranco Zola and his coaching staff."
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