Anthony Edgar has spoken of his delight at becoming the first homegrown Hammer to make his senior-team breakthough in the new decade.
The 19-year-old was an 88th-minute substitute for Junior Stanislas in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie with Arsenal. It was the culmination of a dream he has had since joining the Academy as a nine-year-old. He said: "It was great experience and the lads gave me great confidence going out there.
"I couldn't wait to touch the ball and run at a defender and show what I can do. I'm happy I got on and hopefully I can get more chances.
"I was just trying to do a bit to get the team going. The manager said to 'enjoy yourself, express yourself and work hard', which I thought I did. I was happy to make my debut and I was happy it was such a big game."
Edgar has enjoyed a season to remember so far, having made his league bow during a loan spell at Bournemouth in October - the club where his cousin Jermain Defoe also took his first senior steps away from the Boleyn Ground.
The winger has impressed as a regular for Alex Dyer's reserves and was due to play in Tuesday's game with Wolverhampton Wanderers before it was called off. The aim is to stay in the first-team squad for Sunday's visit of Wolves in the Barclays Premier League, although the likes of Mark Noble and Scott Parker could be back in contention.
"I think it's going to give me a big booster. Now I've seen how it is I can push on and work harder and get more chances. It is all good experience."