Westley picks Dev Squad positives

Despite the West Ham United Development Squad losing 3-2 to Fulham at Rush Green on Monday evening, Academy Director Terry Westley said there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

The Cottagers took the lead in the 18th minute when Thomas Eisfeld broke into the box and fired coolly past Tim Brown in the Hammers' goal.

However, the Hammers responded quickly through striker Paul McCallum who marked his first game of the season with a goal as he pounced on a loose ball in the box.

McCallum then put the Hammers ahead ten minutes later as he prodded home from close range. On the stroke of half time the visitors equalised through Ange-Freddy Plumain's header before Tiago Casasola's finish sealed the victory for Fulham.

Speaking after the game, Westley said: "Paul's done in great in training, he gives us a focal point to the team, Elliot Lee does the same when he plays. If you're a midfielder, he's a player you look to get the ball to and then build attacks and momentum off him.

"With him and Sebby linking up we looked a threat and we got in behind a couple of times. He took his goals well, from two good deliveries.

"It was heart wrenching at half time knowing you had to take him off because it's only his first game back. But there's a bigger picture to this game, I'm sure he's delighted with his performance."

Another positive was 16-year-old centre back Tunji Akinola, who put in an impressive display on his first game for the Development Squad.

"Tunji made his U21 debut tonight and I thought he did very well. It was a great experience for Tunji.

"It was disappointing we didn't win but we can look past that. The bigger picture is that Tunji did brilliantly. It's a great learning curve for him but I think he did well and he'll get better because of tonight."

Westley was forced to name an experimental side as a number of players were unavailable as they were selected for U18s Youth Cup match with Southampton on Tuesday.

"We had an experimental side, particularly in defence as players are playing tomorrow night in the FA Youth Cup. Lewis Page also impressed me. He has a good chance of a career because he listens and he works incredibly hard. I thought the right-back also did well and he was an asset for us.

"People often talk about tactics, and formations and other things but the game is about fractions. If we don't hold the ball up well enough at the top of the pitch then they can attack.

"Similarly if we miss a tackle in midfield, these are the margins between winning and losing, particularly at the highest levels. We didn't quite establish ourselves enough today."