Belic eager for Exeter chance

Serbian youngster Luka Belic is fit again and hoping for another chance to impress for the Development Squad on Wednesday evening
Luka Belic is planning to continue his march towards full fitness and top form by inspiring the Development Squad to Barclays U21 Premier League Cup victory at Exeter City on Wednesday.

The Serbian youngster returned to action in Monday’s 1-0 Barclays U21 Premier League Division Two win at Swansea City, following a frustrating period out injured.

Serbia U19 international forward Belic, who joined West Ham United in September after emerging at OFK Beograd in his homeland, says the best is yet to come following an encouraging comeback display in South Wales.

“It was frustrating to get injured, of course, so am happy to be making my recovery,” said the 19-year-old. “It was good to get as many minutes as I did on Monday, but the most important thing is always the team winning games.

“I’d say I’m about 60% to what my full capacity is and you have to play consistently at this level because the standard is very high.”

Monday’s victory represented the third in succession for Terry Westley’s side, who are latterly being rewarded for their performances with points after a challenging start to the 2015/16 campaign.

“It was a great team performance, we had to work very hard. It was a tough away game, and the most important thing was the team showed great character, that’s why we won.

“We played very well individually and collectively. The first half we had to stick together. They were a little bit better but we stuck together. Looking around the locker room you could feel that we were going to win, we had a confidence that comes from winning our other recent matches.”

Despite his recent frustrations, the youngest player ever to appear in the Serbian top flight – at the age of just 16 years and seven days in April 2012 – is enjoying being part of things with the Hammers.

Next up for the Development Squad is Wednesday’s trip to St James Park and a Barclays U21 Premier League Cup Round of 32 clash with Exeter – a game Belic is eager to be involved in.

“For me personally, I have been injured, which has been frustrating,” he admitted. “You come to a new club, you want to impress straight away but my game time has been limited.

“I’m also not used to this wind! But that’s what it is like when you’re getting used to a new country, new conditions so it’s fine.

“We have a create chemistry in the squad, a lot of good players, I didn’t realise how good the standard was really going to be. It’s nice that West Ham has so many talented players, and I have made a lot of friends very quickly.”

Kick-off in Wednesday’s tie in Devon is at 7pm. For South West-based Hammers heading along, tickets are priced at £8 for Adults, £4 for Over-62s and £2 for Under-16s. All entry is through the Main Stand turnstiles.

The winners will host Colchester United or Fulham in the Round of 16.