Lee pens first deal

Ollie Lee has become the fourth West Ham United Academy graduate to sign his first professional contract with the club this summer.

The all-action midfielder, who turns 18 on 11 July, has followed youth team captain and close friend Matt Fry, defender Tony Brookes and forward Anthony Edgar in committing his future to the club by signing a one-year contract.

The youngster, who is the son of former West Ham and England midfielder Robert Lee, was a revelation during the 2008/09 season, making 21 FA Premier Academy League appearances, scoring three goals. The teenager also impressed in Alex Dyer's reserve team, turning out eleven times in the Barclays Premier Reserve League South.

Lee, who joined the club when he was 14, names former Hammer Michael Carrick as his favourite player, and is eager to follow in the footsteps of the Manchester United and England midfielder.

"I'm delighted and just can't wait to get started now," he said. "It's going to be a really exciting season and I can't wait to get going," said Lee, who can speak fluent Spanish. " Last season I did well. I broke myself into the reserve side so I'm looking to push on hopefully get into the first team. I should be with the reserve side next season and then hopefully if the first team call on me I can shine. "

Lee is delighted to be part of yet another crop of promising youngsters to have come through the ranks at the club.

"It's good that we're all coming through at the same time," said Lee. "We've all been together for a couple of years now so we all know each other really well.

"It will be nice coming together with a group of lads you know rather than strangers. We've all been chatting about it and we're all excited and can't wait for the season to get going."

Like many of his fellow Academy graduates, Lee is open to the idea of a loan move to another club in order to gain valuable first-team experience. After seeing the benefit a loan move gave the likes of Josh Payne, Junior Stanislas and James Tomkins, Lee is hoping to follow their footsteps this season if given the opportunity.

"I would like to go on loan at some point this year and then hopefully come back at the end of the season and make an appearance," he added. "We've seen some of the lads last year do it and I'd like to be one of them this year.

"I think by going on loan you grow up a lot and get good experience and hopefully then I can push on to the first team."