Hall signs

Robert Hall has pledged to work hard to achieve his goals after signing his first professional contract.

The 17-year-old striker has risen through the ranks since first coming to West Ham United nine years ago. Hall, who comes from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, is now a regular in the Under-18 set-up, after a successful summer helping England to win the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.

"It is a great feeling," Hall told whufc.com after signing. "I am here with mum and dad and I owe them a lot.

"It is nine years that we have been coming up the M25 every day to get here. Now I am in the Academy house and I am happy with this achievement. it is a family thing for me. They have helped me through and I always feel my family are with me when I am on the pitch.

"They always make the effort to come and support me, whether it is abroad or near my house. That is why I love playing football because I have my family right behind me." Hall was also grateful to his second family, the Academy.

"It has been a big part of my life. Tony Carr has known me for so long and I can talk to him in a good way. All the people and all the coaches have helped me over the years to get to this point and it is like a family."

The teenager knows the new contract is just a starting point and that he has to keep proving himself. The U18s, who play at Charlton Athletic on Saturday, have had a tricky start to the new campaign but Hall said he and his team-mates know what they have to do to improve.

"We haven't started well but we will get it together . We just need to relax and listen to what we are being told. We need to work hard on the training pitch and show what we are made of."

Hall, like his colleagues, relishes getting advice from the first-team players, describing the input from the senior squad as "great".

He added: "They have all been where we are. Mark Noble and James Tomkins, players like that have been in our shores. They make you feel comfortable and help you with your game.

"This club is famous for bringing players through. All of us have this belief that this is the right club to be at. We know we will get a chance if we work hard, that is the only way."