Hall aiming higher

It may be the close-season, but Robert Hall is already making ambitious plans for the new campaign.

The England Under-18 forward has long been tipped to make it to the very top but, by his own admission, endured a frustrating 2010/11.

The 17-year-old netted ten goals in 26 youth-team appearances and also forced his way into the reserve team on seven occasions, but the 2010 UEFA U17 European Championship winner is aiming higher in the future.

Hall, who signed his first professional contract with the club in October 2010, is one of the many Academy players who take advantage of living at the West Ham United Youth House.

There, the Aylesbury-born youngster has two shirts hanging on his wall - the England shirt he wore in the EURO 17 final and the France shirt he swapped with one of his opponents following the Young Lions' semi-final victory. Both shirts, as well as the positive environment he enjoys by sharing the house with his team-mates, serve as an inspiration to Hall.

"The shirts are hanging there to remind me of what I can achieve if I work hard and to spur me on for the future," said Hall.

"It's been a bit of a quiet season. It's taken me a while to get into the swing of things. I've learnt that I need to concentrate more and that you don't just turn up for training two days a week like we used to. It's every day now, so concentration levels need to be top notch all the time. I'm getting used to that, really.

"From the start of the season in July until about Christmas, I was a bit off the pace. I wasn't really performing well and wasn't taking the opportunities that I should have been.

"I think I started the New Year better, but it's all about learning every day. I'm going in the right direction and I can only keep working hard."


Hall told West Ham TV that living in the Youth House, where he shared a room with Jake Young during the 2010/11 season, had helped him to mature and realise that he needed to work harder to fulfil his ambitions.

"The house is a nice place to live. It's very comfortable and all the lads get along well. It's a responsibility, because we have to keep our rooms tidy. We have a lot of help from a nice woman called Caroline who comes in and cleans our rooms while we're away at training.

"Living there makes us more responsible about what we do leave around the house and Bob and Val treat us well. We have to show them respect back and making sure our rooms are tidy before we leave is one of the ways we can show our respect.

"Living here makes things so much easier. You can have more sleep because the training ground is so close. [Youth House hosts] Bob and Val [Rayson] are so welcoming which is nice and living there means we have the luxury of being able to relax before the game and you're ready to do the business when you get on to the pitch."