'I hope they learnt a lot'

Alex Dyer said his young West Ham United XI would have learned a lot from Saturday's 4-2 pre-season friendly defeat at Burton Albion.

The Hammers, boasting no fewer than four Academy scholars and five young professionals, more than held their own against the experienced League Two side.

First-year professional Ahmed Abdulla gave Dyer's team an early lead at the Pirelli Stadium before American triallist Devann Yao netted to level the score at 2-2 shortly before half-time.

Burton made seven second-half substitutions to West Ham's one and their greater freshness and experience gradually shone through as the game went on.

Despite seeing his side beaten, the reserve-team manager was proud of his players' efforts in front of a 1,920-strong crowd.


"I didn't learn anything about the lads that I didn't know already," said Dyer. "They are a hard-working bunch who have worked hard all week in training and they have put in a hard shift. I hope they have learnt a lot because they knew they were coming to a League Two club with plenty of experience and they coped very well.

"We came with 15 lads and half of them are second-year scholars, so it shows the Academy is doing well. The first team took four or five of my lads to Germany, which is good. I was pleased with the way they conducted themselves, as well, because I told them to go out and express themselves.

"The most important thing is that they have to show that they can play at Football League level. Next year, or even sooner in some cases, these boys will want to go out on loan to places like Burton, so it was a good chance for them to show they could match players in League Two."

Devann Yao

New Yorker Yao caught the eye with his neat footwork and willingness to take on defenders, capping an encouraging debut with a spectacular goal. The 20-year-old also linked well with strike partner Abdulla.

The front pair, alongside midfielders George Moncur and Olly Lee and wing-backs Filip Modelski and Jordan Brown, all impressed, leaving Dyer feeling optimistic about the future.

"Devann came this week and scored a great goal. He put a shift in and got a bit tired near the end, like most of them did. When you get a bit tired, you get a bit sloppy but apart from that, they put a good shift in and I'm happy.

"I hope they are all future prospects. Ahmed has got a good touch and scored a good goal and worked hard. I had a go at him a couple of times, but I thought he gave 100 per cent for the team, like they all did. That was just a lack of experience because they are young kids.

"I hope they are the future of the club. That's up to myself and them to want to be in the first team. It's going to be hard these days for young lads to get through, but if they're good enough then I'm sure they'll make it to the next stage."

The reserves return to action at Blue Square South outfit Bishop's Stortford on Thursday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.