Westley proud of hard-earned win

Terry Westley said his Development Squad worked their socks off to score a 1-0 Barclays U21 Premier League win at Swansea City
Terry Westley praised his Development Squad’s determination and commitment in securing a 1-0 Barclays U21 Premier League Division Two win at Swansea City.

To a man, West Ham United’s young professionals put their bodies on the line in South Wales, making tackles, blocks and chasing down everything in sight.

Their persistence and shear hard work was rewarded when Jordan Brown stabbed Alex Pike’s pull-back into the net just before the hour-mark to seal their third win on the bounce.

Reflecting on a hard-earned three points, Academy Manager and Head of Coaching and Player Development Westley said: “It was a hard-fought victory in very difficult conditions, it could have easily been called off, but thankfully it wasn’t.

“The rain was torrential but the wind was the biggest factor. Maybe we applied ourselves a fraction more than what the opposition did; the end result is that we have a well-earned victory.

“Four wins out of five breed confidence, the players start trusting our methods but also believing more in themselves. It was just as pleasing as it was a changed team from last week; we had a few young players involved today. It was a real test, and every single one of them put in a real shift, they gave everything they’ve got and were rewarded.”

The win sets up the Hammers perfectly for their next game, which comes around as soon as Wednesday evening at Exeter City in the Barclays U21 Premier League Cup Round of 32.

Reflecting further on Monday’s plucking of the Swans, Westley was delighted to see a relatively inexperienced side prove more than a match for their hosts.

U18 captain and Swiss midfielder Noha Sylvestre impressed during his U21 debut, as did England youth international Vashon Neufville at left-back. 

Westley continued: “It was good for us that we were able to field two youngsters, as this was the first time both had played for the U21s this season.

“Noha played wide of a midfield four, he’ll be pleased of his debut and rightly so, I was pleased with what I saw. It’s a good start for him at U21 level.

“I thought Vashon was our best player. We’ve been working with him to move the ball quicker and he’s taken that on board, because you can’t just run with the ball every time. He was up against a decent player on the right and he did very well.”

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s cup tie in Devon, Westley is already considering his options. Given the short turnaround it is highly likely the Academy manager will make a number of changes. 

“We’re staying in the South West because it made more logistical sense and cut down the amount of travelling we needed to do. We have to see whether any first-team players down to join us or not. We had a lot of good players not involved, Djair Parfitt-Williams, Leo Chambers and Marcus Browne among others, so you would expect them to all be involved.

“We’ll look at everyone and see how the recovery from today’s game goes and then we’ll make some decisions.”

Kick-off in Wednesday’s Barclays U21 Premier League Cup Round of 32 tie at St James Park 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.