Modelski in Poland picture

Filip Modelski had good reason for missing out on a trip to face his old club Arka Gdynia this week because of a return to international duty.

The 17-year-old Hammers right-back left Arka for east London two years ago, but was sadly absent in the 2-2 draw between the clubs on Tuesday night because of his country's call. Modelski was instead with the Poland Under-18s, preparing for a Wednesday friendly in Bulgaria.

Nevertheless, he was eager to tell all his club-mates all about his old club and the warm reception they and Alex Dyer's coaching staff would receive.

"It will be really good for us to have a different experience," he said. "A lot of people are excited about this match in Poland and there should be a good crowd.

"It is a shame that I don't get to play against my local team. It would have been nice to play against my old mates and in front of my friends and family. Quite a few people will come to watch the game. They are really excited to have West Ham coming over.

"There are a lot of West Ham supporters. They love the club and follow how we do every week on TV. A lot of them come over as well to watch West Ham games. They are very interested to see us live in Poland."

While Arka's 12,000-capacity stadium provided a different experience from playing at the Boleyn Ground, Modelski explained his club-mates will have other Polish customs to get used to, such as the cuisine.

"Our players will be surprised by the food. It is quite different to English food, I can't even describe what it will be like for them. I am sure they will like it if they try it, Polish cooking is nice."

Modelski said there is an increasing buzz back home because of the 2012 UEFA European Championship, to be jointly hosted with Ukraine. Although he has missed out on this chance to play in his homeland this time, he does harbour ambitions of returning for the finals as a West Ham first-team player.

"That would be a dream. I will only be 20 but who knows in three years I could be playing. I have a lot of hard work to do though. The excitement is growing for 2012. The fans in Poland like international football and it is going to get bigger."

First for Modelski though is proving himself in the Academy under Tony Carr, and he continues to improve after overcoming a serious knee injury suffered at the turn of the year. The Under-18s have a "massive game" away to Arsenal on Saturday morning and the defender is just delighted to be involved.

"I am really happy with how things have gone. I am really pleased for the people who have worked with me and they have helped me so much. I am playing full games, I feel fit, stronger than I was.

"I feel so strong mentally after injury. I was coming in every day at 8am to do the best I could with my rehab and I think it is paying off."

Modelski's international ambitions have been on hold while he was out injured but he was delighted to be called up again at the first opportunity. He said his team-mates were all curious about his West Ham experience.

"It is quite nice to be back. I can't wait for it. Most of my team-mates are playing in Poland, a few are in Germany and one is Holland but most are back home.

"They ask me about West Ham all the time. They ask what it is like in England and how I am doing. I tell them about the training we do and what the matches are like. It is a great club and I tell everyone that."