West Ham United can confirm that Ian Hendon has been appointed as the club's new Development Coach.
The 39-year-old has arrived at the Boleyn Ground from League Two side Gillingham, where he held the role of assistant manager.
Hendon, who played professionally for a host of clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnet during a 20-year career, was capped seven times by England at Under-21 level.
Following his retirement, the Ilford-born defender spent 18 months as manager of Barnet before filling the same role at Dover Athletic. He had joined Gillingham in June 2010.
Hendon told West Ham TV that his time spent as a player under manager Sam Allardyce at Notts County had played a big role in his own coaching philosophies.
"Since I finished playing about four or five years ago, I've been a coach, an assistant manager and a manager and then, last year, I went down to Gillingham with Andy Hessenthaler as his assistant. I got the shout to come and see the gaffer, had an interview with him and luckily for me he thought I could bring good things to the club and I got offered the job.
"It's all happened very quickly in the last ten days to two weeks.
"I definitely get the feeling that there is an optimistic atmosphere around the club. I worked with the manager a long time ago when I was a player under him at Notts County and I've been in touch with him over the years.
"He knows exactly how he wants his players to play and what he wants from them. If I can instil that in the younger players it bodes well for the future."
West Ham's relegation to the npower Championship means the club will no longer field a reserve team in a league structure. Instead, the club's young professionals will play friendly matches as part of a newly-formed Development Squad, with Hendon calling the shots.
"My role is literally what it says on the tin, if you like - to develop the young players, to work with them and to try and push them through that transition from the Academy to the first team.
"It's very similar to a reserve-team role, but there's no reserve league this year. There will be games, and it will be my role to arrange fixtures and to get the lads playing in games.
"There will also be a possibility along the way of some of the lads going out on loan to aid their development and to help them, when they come back, to be more ready for the first team."
Hendon's first work assignment saw him assist first-team coach Wally Downes at the 3-0 pre-season victory at Bishop's Stortford on Saturday.
While the appearances of Scott Parker, Mark Noble and Jack Collison stole the headlines, the new Development Coach was keeping a closer eye on the performances of the players he will work with day-in, day-out - most notably United States Under-20 playmaker Sebastian Lletget.
"The young players really rose to the occasion, especially Sebby. I thought he did really well in the hole in what was his first hour of football this pre-season.
"I have got my eye on them and how they fit in with the older players. In the second half, we had a few big-hitters who came on and I was looking at how the young lads fared with the bigger boys. I was very pleased."