Howes' delight at award
Sam Howes has revealed his delight at receiving the Young Hammer of the Year award to cap a superb 2013/14 season.
The young goalkeeper added another trophy to his collection on Wednesday night as he and his England squad-mates overcame Holland on penalties to win the UEFA European U17 Championship.
Howes was an unused substitute as the 1-1 draw was followed by a 4-1 shoot-out victory. The international honour follows his Club award, for which he was selected by Academy Director Tony Carr MBE. That award was fitting recognition of his eye-catching performances for West Ham United's U18s and Development Squad.
Howes' ultimately successful participation with England at the UEFA European U17 Championship meant he was unable to attend the Club's Player Awards, but that didn't stop him expressing his delight to West Ham TV before he jetted off to Malta on international duty.
"I'm very pleased that my hard work this season has paid off," said Howes, who will begin a full-time scholarship this summer.
"I've played Under-18s football and a bit of reserve team football, so I've got a lot to thank the staff here for as they've been great with me since I came here. My family as well, have given me their support, I couldn't have done it without them.
"This award is going to give me a lot more incentive to push on for next season. I want to make myself a better goalkeeper, improve the areas I need to work on and keep working on the parts I'm already good at."
The 16-year-old's rise through the ranks has been remarkable over the course of the campaign, with the stopper becoming a regular feature for Nick Haycock's Development Squad.
His fine performances at Club level led to international recognition in January and he impressed sufficiently in the two caps he collected to earn a place in the squad for the European U17 Championship finals.
Howes played against the Dutch in the group stage and although he couldn't prevent his country from falling to a 2-0 defeat, representing his national team is still regarded as the greatest honour of his career so far.
"I've played in the reserves and in a few behind closed doors friendlies with some first-team players. I've trained with the first team as well and made my debut at Under-17 level for England, so that was probably my main highlight from this season."
Sam Howes receives his award from Tony Carr MBE
Still a schoolboy, Howes has developed under the tutelage of the Club's senior goalkeepers when training with the first team at Chadwell Heath.
The agile 'keeper has enjoyed every minute learning under the guidance of Jussi Jaaskelainen and Adrian and is aiming to get even better next season.
"The main plan for myself is to push on and play as many reserve games as I can next season and keep knocking on the door.
"All the Under-18, Under-21 and first-team staff have all been great. When I go up to Chadwell Heath to train with them they've been brilliant and made me feel part of the squad. The goalkeeping staff as well, with me being a goalkeeper, have been great for the six years that I've been here.
"Jussi has given me the most advice because he's one of the most experienced 'keepers in the Premier League, so it's good to get advice off him. It's also good to watch 'keepers like Adrian and Raphael Spiegel to take tips from them which I can add to my game and make myself a better goalkeeper."