Duo brave the SkyWalk

Sam Howes and Danny Whitehead braved a hair-raising open-air walk around New Zealand's tallest building.

The West Ham United youngsters showed great courage to edge along a narrow walkway around the outside of the Sky Tower, 192 metres above the city of Auckland. With no handrails, just a rope held the pair in place.

With just two places available, goalkeeper Howes and midfielder Whitehead won a game of scissors/paper/stone against Dan Potts and Matthias Fanimo to take part in the SkyWalk - but soon regretted it!

After nervously filling out their registration forms, the duo pulled on bright orange overalls and went through a safety check with walk guide Sam Bennett before taking the lift to the 53rd floor. There, they were strapped in before leading their group of walkers onto the ledge high above Auckland.

Howes was far more comfortable on the walkway than his older squad-mate, smiling, striding purposely and leaning out over the edge while Whitehead held his rope tightly and pulled a succession of terrified expressions.

After their 40-minute ordeal, the pair were far happier back on the ground floor, where they were presented with photographs and videos to mark their SkyWalk.

Sam Howes

England U17 goalkeeper Sam Howes enjoyed his SkyWalk

"I didn't feel too great when I won my place in the rock/paper/scissors, I must admit, but at the end of it I felt really good about myself," said Howes. "I've done something I never thought I would do.

"It was really frightening and my knees were knocking, but it was an exhilarating experience that anyone would want to have and now I have done. I must say it would beat most things, but not playing for England! I did really enjoy it, though.

"It is a real honour for me being here. After last season, which went so well for myself, this season has started off really well as well. Being over here in New Zealand with the lads is a really good experience for me."

Danny Whitehead

Danny Whitehead gives the thumbs-up to the SkyWalk

Whitehead was equally pleased with himself after completing his SkyWalk in 30mph winds and is also relishing his opportunity to spend pre-season on tour with the first team on the other side of the world.

"I beat Matthias in the game beforehand, but then I got up the top of the Tower and I wanted to change places with him," laughed the 20-year-old. "It's something I've done now and something to look back on.

"I did regret it to start with and the whole way round I was asking the guide how long there was left, but like I say it's a difference experience and I'm glad I've done it now.

"It's the furthest I've ever travelled and I'm looking forward to the rest of the tour now. Hopefully I can prove myself this pre-season and push on and get a few games in the first team."


Guide Sam Bennett tends to the two young Hammers

Guide Bennett agreed that the two young players could be proud of their achievement after following in the footsteps of the England rugby union team and pop superstar Rihanna, who recently visited the Sky Tower.

"The two boys took on the SkyWalk and completed it like champs," he confirmed. "Danny took a slow and steady approach but he pulled it off and got the right result. Sam had no worries and went off like a boss!"

For full details about the SkyWalk, please click here.

*West Ham United would like to thank New Zealand Tourism for organising the SkyWalk.