Kenzer revels in Torch Relay

Kenzer Lee has hailed carrying the Olympic Torch as one of the best experiences of his life.

The West Ham United first-year professional became one of the 8,000 lucky runners to take part in the Torch Relay when he ran along Dagenham Heathway on Sunday afternoon.

After passing the Torch on to the next runner, the Beckton-born centre-back caught up with young reporter and Hammers supporter Willis Jamieson to talk about his big moment and his hopes of breaking into Sam Allardyce's first-team squad this season.

How did it feel carrying the Olympic Torch?

KL: It was a great experience, unbelievable the amount of people that turned up to line the route. There was a great atmosphere. When I got dropped off by the Torchbearers coach to my waiting spot, my family were there to get photos of me, then loads of others were crowding round to have their photos taken, it was an amazing experience.

How did you get chosen?

KL: My sister put my name forward first of all, which was accepted. Then I had to write an application about myself and  it went through a number of other stages and eventually I was told I was successful. I was an Olympic Torchbearer!

You said that scoring the winner for West Ham United against Wolverhampton Wanderers in last season's FA Youth Cup was the best feeling ever - how does this compare?

KL: To be fair I think the Torch Relay just edged it. Carrying the Olympic Torch is something I will never experience again, and an experience I'll always treasure. Hopefully I will end up scoring lots of times for West Ham, but that can never be repeated.

What are you looking forward to most about the Olympics?

KL: The track events interest me the most, the 100m and 200m competitions are always good and I'm really looking forward to watching Usain Bolt perform.

Kenzer Lee

If we can find out about more about you now, tell us about your life before West Ham United?

KL: I was quite late getting into football. I only really started playing at the age of ten. I played Sunday league football for Royal Falcons in Beckton for a year and then I got scouted by West Ham while playing for my school team. I was playing in the year above and with that team we won the National Cup which is when I was noticed by the West Ham scout.

You were also scouted by Tottenham Hotspur and Millwall, so how did it make you feel having so many clubs wanting you?

KL: Well, I was quite young and of course it was exciting, but being young my Dad was making the decisions and as soon as West Ham showed interest I wasn't going to go anywhere else. I didn't know the scout was watching so after the game he spoke to my Dad. On the way home Dad told me West Ham wanted me to go over there - it felt really good!

Which player do you most liken yourself to?

KL: I don't know really, I suppose I'd like to think someone like [Chelsea and England centre-back] Gary Cahill.

Since Sam Allardyce has been at the club it seems the Academy players mix a lot more with the first team. How has that been for you?

KL: It's a great experience to play in front of him. We all try our best to impress him, you have to treat each training session as if it's your last especially if he is watching as we all want to impress him.

Which other young players do you think might make a good impression on him and make a step up to the first team?

KL: Well Rob Hall and Dan Potts are both quality and we've already seen them a bit last season, but I think we'll see more of them this time round. A few others have the chance of making an impression - Matthias Fanimo, Blair Turgott and Leo Chambers are all excellent players… and you never know, hopefully myself.

Do you think you're in with a chance of making your first-team debut this season?

Yes, why not? I just need to make sure I perform in training, perform when the right people are watching me and if I do get the chance, maybe in the Carling Cup, then I need to take my chance. I'd love to get a run in the first team, maybe the Carling Cup is the most likely first of all. I might end up going on loan, but I am working at getting into the first team as soon as I can really.

*Follow Willis Jamieson on twitter @WillisJamieson