Blair the scholar

For many of Blair Turgott's friends, the summer holidays are just beginning.

In the case of the West Ham United and England Under-16 midfielder, the hard work is about to start.

Just a few days after completing his GCSE examinations, Turgott will join 12 of his old schoolboy team-mates at Little Heath to begin lives as full-time scholars.

Turgott enjoyed a superb 2009/10 season, excelling for both club and country.

Not only did the 16-year-old make 12 FA Premier Academy League and FA Youth Cup appearances for the Hammers, but he also found time to help England win the Victory Shield and reach the final of the prestigious Montaigu Tournament in France in April.

"Last season was a good season, to be fair. I think we did well. Personally I put in some good performances, so I was happy.

"We had a good team both individually and all together. Hopefully we can push on both individually and as a team for the Under-18s.

"It was hard at first to get used to it and to adapt to the physical side of it. Facing stronger players was difficult, but I think I got better as I went along and got used to the whole thing."

Blair Turgott

Turgott is naturally delighted to have been offered a scholarship for the club he has represented since the age of eight, but he knows there are still many hurdles to jump before he can celebrate becoming a Barclays Premier League footballer.

"It's good to have the security of two years, but this is where the work starts really. I want to really push on and get into the first-team squad as quickly as possible.

"I've been here since the Under-9s. I've improved every season and have been playing all this time to get my scholarship and now I've got it."

While Turgott's immediate aim is to cement his place in Academy Director Tony Carr's U18s, the talented teenager is also hoping to represent England at U17 level.

"I'll be an Under-17 this season and hopefully both myself and Matthias [Fanimo] can push on and continue to be involved with England. We're looking forward to the tournament, as there is nothing better than representing your country.

"We have got a good team. We won the Victory Shield and got to the final of the Montaigu Tournament before losing on penalties, so hopefully we'll continue doing well. I was unbeaten at Under-16 level, because I don't consider penalties losing - that was a draw in my book!"

Alongside Turgott and Fanimo, England U17 forward Robert Hall, goalkeepers Jake Larkins and David Wootton, defenders Danny Potts, Kenzer Lee and Jake Young, midfielders Dominic Vose, Jack Powell, Declan Hunt, Lamar Hurley and forward Dylan Tombides will all begin life as scholars on Monday 5 July.