Mixed start for U18s

West Ham United Under-18s recorded a victory and a defeat on the opening day of the Yale Eurofoot Tournoi in Belgium.

The three-day competition has attracted a host of top clubs from across Europe and beyond, with Tottenham Hotspur, Belgian giants Anderlecht and Club Brugge and Croatian side Hajduk Split among those taking part.

West Ham were drawn in Group A alongside AA Gent, Cercle Brugge, Anderlecht, Hajduk Split and Danish club Nordsjaelland at the tournament, which is taking place in Oostduinkerke.

On Friday, Nick Haycock's side began their challenge with a 2-0 win over Cercle Brugge, with Elliot Lee and Jamie Harney scoring the goals. However, the Hammers' second fixture saw them slip to defeat by an identical scoreline to Nordsjaelland.

"We played well in both matches and, on another day, could have recorded two victories but overall I was very pleased with the way we started the tournament," confirmed Haycock.

"Against Cercle Brugge we fully deserved our victory. Elliot scored the first goal by intercepting a pass and lashing a shot into the bottom corner before Jamie volleyed in from a superb in-swinging corner from Nathan Mavila.

"Elliot and Leo Chambers were the pick of our players, while there was also a good commanding performance from our goalkeeper Sam Baxter. Sam didn't have much to do, but he kicked well from the back and put in a good, solid display.

"In our second game, we lost 2-0 against a Danish team who were a lot older and stronger than us - most of their players were U19s whereas most of ours are U17s with a smattering of U18s. They won the physical battle, but they certainly didn't outplay us.

"We played well enough to win but a couple of defensive mistakes cost us. Again, Leo and Elliot were our standout players, while first-year scholar Ben Marlow did well in the centre of the midfield."

Haycock said the trip would help him and the coaching staff assess the youngsters' professionalism on and off the pitch.

"It is a lovely set-up here and the hotel is superb. The boys are in good spirits and they could easily have come away with two wins from the opening day of the tournament. We play Gent, Anderlecht and Hajduk Split on Saturday to see which knockout section we go into on Sunday.

"The good thing for me is that we get to see how the boys prepare and how they recover from playing matches, as well as the way they get over making mistakes that they have made.

"We see how professional they are 24-hours-a-day which is something that is vitally important if they are going to take the next step towards first-team football."

To find out more about the Yale Eurofoot Tournoi, click here.