Zola welcomes Frank

Gianfranco Zola has spoken about his happiness at securing the services of Frank Nouble after the striker pledged his future to West Ham United.

The manager will not get a chance to meet up with his new forward - signed on a five-year deal after leaving Chelsea - until he returns from Austria later this week but he is excited at the prospect of seeing him in claret and blue.

"We are delighted to have Frank here," Zola said. "Everyone has spoken about how he is a talented boy. He is young, enthusiastic and the type of player we like.

"So we will welcome him, try to improve him further and hopefully he will help make us better too. He is young but that is part of our plan. We want to work with senior players and improve the young players we have - that is the plan. If we can keep on this path, then hopefully we will have success."

Nouble, who turns 18 in September, is relishing the prospect of getting down to work on the Chadwell Heath training pitches with his new team-mates.

"I was training with great players at Chelsea and that definitely helped me become who I am now but sometimes you need to a move into a different environment," said Nouble.

"The environment I am coming into now is definitely not lower. The players are in and around the same ability. I will be able to learn so much. There are great players here and I am very fortunate to get the chance to play with them."

The teenager will be helped by knowing Steve Clarke from his Chelsea days, with the first-team coach having proved something of a mentor as he rose through the ranks.

"Steve Clarke has always given me a little word in my ear, talking to me and encouraging me," confirmed Nouble, "He has known me for a long time. He would get the coaches at Chelsea to talk to me and tell me to work hard.

"I know coming here now will be about hard work and I am not shy about that. I am looking forward to working hard with him and Gianfranco Zola. I am looking forward to meeting them and everyone that works for the club and I can't wait to get started."