Lee delighted to sign

Olly Lee is ready to impress manager Avram Grant after signing a new contract with West Ham United.

The midfielder saw his first year as a professional ruined by illness and injury, being laid low with a draining bout of glandular fever and suffering a troublesome leg injury.

Lee returned to action in fine style, scoring a fantastic long-range goal in the 3-2 Barclays Premier Reserve League South victory over Fulham at the Boleyn Ground before impressing in Academy Director Tony Carr's Testimonial match in May.

Now, with the start of pre-season training less than a week away, the 18-year-old is ready to make up for lost time by impressing new manager Grant.

"The summer has been really good," said Lee, who has noticeably bulked up since the end of the previous campaign. "I've worked really hard to get my fitness up so I hope this season will be a big season for me.

"I had a holiday and relaxed for a bit, but ever since then I've been training most days and working as hard as I can to make this season my season.

"I've been doing a bit of everything. We've been given a fitness programme so I've been following that and also doing my own little bits. I know what I've got to do to get my body how it should be.

"I'm trying to put a bit of muscle on and get a bit stronger because I've got to be strong enough to compete with everyone else."

The midfielder, who turns 19 on 11 July, is aware he faces a battle to force his way into Grant's plans, with the likes of Hammer of the Year Scott Parker, new signing Thomas Hitzlsperger, Mark Noble, Radoslav Kovac, Jack Collison, Valon Behrami and Luis Boa Morte competing for a spot in the West Ham engine room.

Despite the competition for places, the teenager, who describes himself as "a midfielder who gets about, can pass the ball and hopefully score a few goals", is up for the challenge.

"There are a lot of players in my position, but I see the situation that they are there are the moment, but I'm going to push them out of the way and get there myself. I've got time ahead of me and I aspire to be better than them."

When asked what he hopes to achieve over the coming 12 months, Lee has twin aims - the first is to stay fit, while the second is to continue the development that began when he joined West Ham at the age of 14.

"Hopefully I can steer clear of illness and injury for starters! Hopefully, if I can do that and I'm in and around the first team, then I can push on here. If not, I'll look to go out on loan and go from there. I'm very open-minded and positive towards everything this season.

"The new manager coming in could be good for me because he doesn't know anything about me. If I can impress in pre-season, then who knows what could happen?"