Rob ready for action

Rob Hall has long been considered one of West Ham United's brightest prospects.

The 18-year-old, who joined the club at the age of nine in 2003, completed a fantastic 18 months by making an eye-catching first-team debut in the 2-1 npower Championship defeat at Derby County on New Year's Eve.

Hall helped England to win the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Liechtenstein in 2010 before signing his first professional contract at the Boleyn Ground in October of the same year.

After impressing at reserve-team level for the Hammers, the forward joined League Two club Oxford United on loan in September 2011, scoring six goals in 14 appearances. The teenager's impressive performances at the Kassam Stadium led to Sam Allardyce bringing Hall back to east London in December and handing him his first-team bow at Pride Park.

"It was a good start and a good experience," Hall told West Ham TV. "We were unlucky to go down 2-0 early and didn't make a great start, but it was great for me to get on the pitch and try to show what I can do.

"It just gives me that bit more hunger to be in the manager's thoughts. Hopefully I did a bit of that at Derby. I can only keep working hard in training and learn the game as I go along. I think I'm doing that so hopefully I can do all right."

Hall made an immediate impact at Pride Park, playing a one-two with Joey O'Brien before seeing a low shot blocked by the Derby defence. The youngster hopes his eleven-minute cameo is a sign of things to come for him in a claret and blue shirt.

"I've been told to start demanding the ball a bit more and, playing with better players, I'm going to get the ball a lot more. I got into a little pocket and Tonks [James Tomkins] managed to find me with a great pass. I got the ball into Joey and when I got it back I had a shot, but they were diving to stop the goal and they did that."

While he has now tasted first-team football at a relatively tender age and has already achieved so much at international level - he has also been capped by England at U18 and U19 levels - Hall knows there is a long way to go before he has truly arrived as a professional footballer.

With a supportive family, coaching staff and team-mates behind him, however, the Aylesbury-born player has everything in place to make the most of his undoubted potential.

"I wouldn't go too far and start saying I am a first-team player. I think I need to do a lot more and work harder and stake more of a claim, then I'll start feeling more relaxed. I can't be relaxed at the stage I am at now.

"Being at Oxford taught me a lot and made me more mature and helped me to grow up a lot quicker. Coming back to West Ham has helped me grow up even more. The year ended on a high for me.

"I don't know what 2012 will hold for me because I try not to think about it too much. I just take life day by day. No doubt my parents will keep my feet on the ground. Everybody says 2012 is going to be a good year, so hopefully it can be."