Jordan Spence is relishing life on loan at Championship outfit Scunthorpe United having become a regular in their side at centre-back.
Still only 19, the defender has stepped up to the second tier of English football without fuss and not looked out of place at all. He has made eight league appearances for Scunthorpe and also played a part in the club winning through to a Carling Cup fourth-round tie at Manchester City later this month.
Scunthorpe may be a long way from east London but Spence is certainly enjoying stepping up from the League One experience he had in 2008/09 just down the road at Leyton Orient. "It's different in a number of ways. First and foremost it's a higher league. The standard is better in terms of the team I'm playing for and the teams I'm playing against.
"I'm also living away from home up here so it's my own life. Even though it's only a couple of hundred miles away it's a different way of life. It's been good playing football against different kinds of opposition.
"I'm living just outside Lincoln. I knew a couple of the players before, Josh Wright I went to school with, but mainly it's new acquaintances. For me it's a bit out there as I'm used to the city life but it's been a good experience.
"The quality of people we're playing against means you get punished a lot more than in League One. The quality of player is certainly a step up and you play against some really good players at some really good stadiums and some football teams that are dying to get back into Premier League."
Spence has won plenty of admirers and knows that the club's coaching staff are keeping a close eye on his progress. "Personally I've been pleased. I was thrown right in the thick of things at Middlesbrough in the first game so that was a good test. I've enjoyed it and liked thinking and getting the feedback. I think I've coped with the challenge as I seek to improve my game."
He is due to remain at Scunthorpe until mid-January and for now he is not thinking beyond that - other than the long-term hope of establishing himself at West Ham United. "It's nice to be playing football at this level but my aim is to be playing as high as I possibly can be. Come January I'm sure I'll sit down and talk with the club but we've got lots of games between now and then and lots of things can happen."