Carr proud of three Lions

Tony Carr has spoken of his pride after three promising West Ham United youngsters were called up by England.

The Academy Director was happy to see Robert Hall, Matthias Fanimo and Blair Turgott all called upon by their country.

Striker Hall is in England's U17 squad for their UEFA European Championship Elite Round qualifiers with Sweden, Malta and Slovakia between Saturday and 1 April, while Fanimo and Turgott (pictured) are with the U16s at the Montaigu Tournament in France between 31 March and 5 April.


"Having Blair, Matthias and Robert called up is something that we're very pleased and proud about. For any player to play for his country is a great honour for the player and for his family, and obviously for the club. We all look at our boys turning out in the white or red of England with immense pride.

"As we know, we must always keep these boys grounded. It is only the first rung on the ladder and there will be a few knock-backs on the way. It's not all glory and pats on the back, England caps and winning cups and leagues. There are knock-backs which help you to be the player that you become.

"We are very pleased for them, but at the same time we try to keep them grounded because this is only the start."

The one downside of the young trio being called up for England duty is their unavailability for the club's U17 trip to Washington DC for the Tiffany Cup - an international competition that will see the Hammers take on American clubs Annandale United and DC United, as well as the Georgia national team, in the opening round.

Regardless of their absence, Carr is looking forward to a productive trip between Saturday and 2 April.

"Blair and Matthias are going to Montaigu and Robert is going to the Algarve for the Under-17 European qualifiers, so I will be without those three boys when we go to Washington for the Tiffany Cup. England have essentially robbed our three best players, but it gives three other players a chance to come in and show what they can do.

"Although it's nice to win these tournaments, it's as much about the experience of playing against foreign teams with different formations and living away from home in a different environment - all these are part of the learning curve."

West Ham were invited to take part following a meeting between International Academy partnership development manager Mike Kelleher and Tiffany Cup founder Elliott Wolfe.