Carr proud of growing Payne

Josh Payne became the eighth West Ham United Academy graduate to make a first-team appearance this season when he came on as a substitute at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Here, in the second of his three interviews on the latest youngsters to have made the breakthrough to Gianfranco Zola's first-team plans, Academy director Tony Carr, who has overseen Payne's development since joining West Ham, talks us through the 18-year-old midfielder's journey so far.

Josh Payne

"Josh spent most of his schoolboy career at one or two different clubs. He was at Southampton and then Portsmouth and then we took him from Portsmouth when he was 15 and he has come up since then. He played for the youth team last year and went on loan at Cheltenham with Martin Allen for three months and blooded himself at league football at that level," Carr said.

"Obviously he has seen the two ends of the spectrum with making his debut against Blackburn in the Premier League and then playing at Cheltenham at Christmas time when they are fighting for survival to stay in the league.

"Like Junior this is his opportunity to show the manager what he can do. He spent a lot of his time with the youth team at centre back but he can play in midfield and he does like to get on the ball and make things happen. He's a demanding character of himself and plays with a real passion for the game. I think he will end up playing in midfield at senior level if he can crack it and push on from the opportunity he has got now.

"Like the other youngsters, they have got the opportunity, it's up to them to show what they can do and what they are about. Just because they have arrived and are in the team it does not mean they are here to stay. It's up to them to prove to they are worthy of that position in a weekly and monthly basis."

Check out tomorrow for Carr's final interview, when he talks about defender Bondz 'Gala's progress and whether he thinks any more of his youngsters could make their breakthrough this season.