Haycock hails Swansea success

West Ham United U21s manager Nick Haycock was pleased with the way his Development Squad team commenced pre-season action with a 4-0 thrashing of Swansea City at Little Heath on Tuesday afternoon.

The Hammers rushed into a three-goal advantage with just over half-an-hour on the clock, with George Moncur and the attacking Irish duo Kieran Sadlier and Sean Maguire taking their chances with smart finishes.

With a total of ten half-time changes for the Hammers second string, including the introduction of Paul McCallum, West Ham rounded off the tie in the closing minutes when the former Dulwich Hamlet star's shot bounced into the back of the net off the post.

"I am pleased with how the game panned out," said Haycock. "We definitely got what we deserved. We have been working a lot of our game with and without the ball and where to press from, trying to get at the other team in the attacking third or to wait in midfield and nick it back or defend deep and counter attack from there.

"I think the boys worked fantastically well at that and then, in possession we created some great chances and we were comfortable winners."

The visit of Swansea was the opening match of the U21s' pre-season schedule and Haycock believes that the way in which his team is set up allows for the best possible development and performances from his players.

"We have been back for two weeks and I think that the boys were ready for a game. It has been the normal protocol for a pre-season, getting the lads in for some hard work and then starting to put them into games.

"Everyone got 45 minutes at least and one or two who have done a little more with the first team got 60 minutes. Overall, it was a job well done.

"The modern day game demands that the players have technical and tactical ability and I think that the way we work with a periodised training mode, it is no different to every week in the season.

"The boys have all had their off-season programmes and obviously come back in much better condition than they would have done years ago and I think it's just seeing where they are at and building the base from there.

"Both U18s manager Steve Potts and I work closely together and even though Steve takes the U18s and I take the U21s, we don't see it that way. We are just working with professional players from 17 years and up and like Tuesday's game showed, first-year scholars were playing for me in the U21s and, if they are ready, we will put them in there."

The quality that is available across the Academy is vast, with Haycock confirming that despite having a large number of players to choose from, it will always be about quality, not quantity.

"It's down to the quality. Whether you have ten, 20 or 30 players to choose from, it will always come down to what quality you've got.

"We believe that we have got a lot of quality players at the Club and it's up to us now to just help add the little tweaks to their game and the physical side of it to get them the call up to the first team when they train, then we will see from there.

"The good thing is that there could be another six or seven that could have played but went to Colchester with the first team."

Haycock believes that his side are going to have a successful season, but believes that winning the league and cup competitions will only be an added bonus to their main target's this season.

"We are optimistic that we will have a good season. A good season for us is producing players for the first team.

"Our aim for this season is to produce players for the first team. That's the only goal we have got. You will find that a lot of clubs say that it is about the development of the players. If we win the league then it's an added bonus but it's about pushing the players in there for the first team."

The U21s' next pre-season match is a trip to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday 20 July at 2pm.

West Ham United U18s (First-half XI): Henderson, Driver, Shaw, Nasha, Onariase, Spence, Turgott, Moncur, Maguire, Miles, Sadlier

West Ham United U18s (Second-half XI): Spiegel, Spence, Page, Cullen, Harney, Burke, Makasi, Bywater, Amoo, McCallum, Mavila