Tuesday 09 Apr
Updated Tuesday 09 Apr 06:00

Sadlier going for goals

Who was the first West Ham United player to reach double figures in goals this season?

The answer is Kieran Sadlier, the Republic of Ireland Under-19 international attacker who bagged his ninth and tenth goals of 2012/13 in the 3-1 Barclays U18 Premier League victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers just over a week ago.

The 18-year-old, who joined West Ham as an Under-11, is not going to rest on his laurels and has set his sights on scoring five more times before the end of the campaign - starting at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday afternoon.

"It's good to reach ten goals," he confirmed. "I set myself a target at the start of the season to get 15 goals because I got eleven last season. I've got ten at the moment so I'm getting closer.

"I was pleased with my goals against Wolves. Both of them were quite similar where I pretended to go one way, then went the other before shooting.

"We want to push on and get another win at West Brom because we're bottom of the table at the moment."

A two-footed player able to run with the ball, beat his man and pass and shoot accurately, Sadlier is now adding strength to his game as he continues to grow and develop physically.

The former Cambridge United schoolboy is hoping his impressive form and positive attitude will catch the eye of Development Squad coach Nick Haycock, who he previously worked under previously at both U16 and U18 levels.

"I feel that the things I need to work on, like the physical side of the game, I am slowly improving and hopefully I'll get there. The technical part, which I think I am already quite decent at, is coming along too.

"My aim is to get into the Under-21s eventually. When I get there, which hopefully will be this season, I want to push on and play there regularly next season.

"I'm a bit more relaxed on the pitch because I know I will be here next season and the season after, but I can't be too relaxed or else I won't play well. I've got to keep on pushing."

Sadlier qualifies to represent Republic of Ireland through his father and has been a regular for his country at age-group level.

The recent international break saw the teenager join club-mate Sean Maguire on a week-long training camp in southern Spain and Gibraltar which culminated with a 1-0 friendly win on the Rock.

The camp and fixture served as preparation for the UEFA European U19 Championship Elite Round, which will see Ireland take on mini-group hosts Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland in June.

Ireland reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European U19 Championship in 2011 and Sadlier is hoping the current crop can emulate or even beat that considerable achievement.

"It was a good week. We played against Gibraltar and won 1-0 but it wasn't so much about the game but about bonding as a team for a week and training in preparation for the qualifiers in Serbia in June. This was our last week together before we go away there and it was good.

"Ireland got to the semi-finals of the tournament proper last time and our team looks like it could do so again because we have been unbeaten in seven games at Under-19 level and have got draws and wins against big teams like Germany and Czech Republic. We're looking good.

"There is a lot of talent coming through in our team and in the age-group below, where there are some good players as well. It is difficult to get into the Under-21s at the moment because there are so many good players around.

"Sean is settling in really well [following his arrival from Waterford United in January] and is getting used to training every day now and the travelling to away games and things like that. It's good to have him with me when I travel away with Ireland as well, as otherwise I'd be on my own. We get on well and even when we're away with Ireland, we always room together."

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