Knoyle relishing Baggies test

Having made his senior debut, Kyle Knoyle is eager to carry on impressing
After a busy and prosperous pre-season, the West Ham United’s Development Squad start their competitive campaign with a trip to face West Bromwich Albion on Monday 17 August.

The Hammers, who will compete in the Barclays U21 Premier League Second Division, approach the new season full of confidence after a string of regulars pushed their way into first team reckoning in the UEFA Europa League.

In total, nine players made their senior debuts, alongside Reece Burke, who made the step up last term and has continued to impress. Josh Cullen, Amos Nasha, Lewis Page, Reece Oxford, Djair Parfitt-Williams, Kyle Knoyle, Alex Pike, Jordan Brown and Martin Samuelsen all participated in the Hammers’ European adventure and several could be in contention to face the Baggies.

One of those debutants, who may feature on Monday night, is right-back Kyle Knoyle. The England U18 international made his full senior debut for the Hammers against FC Astra Giurgiu: “Making My first team debut is something I've dreamt of and strived towards since I first joined West Ham five years ago.

“It was a surreal experience that I'll never forget, once the referee blew the whistle my head was in the game and I felt comfortable. That is one of many positives I can take but there were also areas of my game which I need to improve on. In general I took a lot from my debut; the traveling supporters were also amazing.

“Before kick-off I was excited about the opportunity. I'd say when we had the team meeting a couple of hours before the game, when the gaffer wrote down the team, it hit me and the nerves started to creep in a little. After that I was fine, the nerves settled and I went out there with my main thought of enjoying the experience.”

Having enjoyed a taste of first team football, Knoyle is eager for more. While he’s been training with the first team on a regular basis for several months, the eighteen-year-old is confident he can make the step up from Europa League into the Premier League.

“My aspiration this season is to comfortably make the transition from U21 football to first team football. My dream will always be for an opportunity to arise where I can get games for the first team at West Ham.

“If it is felt best by the Club that I need to get some Football League experience first, then I will just do my best for the U21s until a suitable loan option becomes available.

“With regards to my international aspirations, I am firm believer if I get my Club football right, international opportunities will come and it is always an honour to play for your country.”

 Monday’s hosts, West Bromwich Albion got their season off to a great start as they beat Swansea City 2-1 away with goals from brothers Samir and Adil Nadi in their opening fixture.

The Development Squad will play West Bromwich Albion on Monday 17 August. Kick off has been moved forward to 3pm, make sure you’re following @whufc_official and for live updates, match reports and exclusive reaction.