Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie at Lusitans gave several of West Ham United’s youngsters the chance to impress, and it was another of the Development Squad starlets who caught the eye at Peterborough United on Saturday.
Norway youth international Martin Samuelsen was a summer arrival from Manchester City and the 18-year-old marked his first game in Claret and Blue with a goal as the Hammers drew 3-3 in their first pre-season friendly.
Playing as part of a front three with Diafra Sakho and Modibo Maiga, Samuelsen was a lively presence and he was thrilled to grab his opportunity with both hands.
“I was really happy to get this chance so early, and with getting a goal it couldn’t have been better,” he beamed.
“For the goal, I just got the ball and did what I do in training, tucked it away in the bottom corner.
“I was close to scoring earlier too when the goalkeeper touched my shot onto the post. That was just unlucky.
“I think I did some good things in the game, but it was the first game of the season and I got really tired, so there were some silly errors but it’s just about getting the fitness at this stage.
“Playing in front of the West Ham fans was amazing, I didn’t expect so many of them to come down today.
“I didn’t expect to get this opportunity this quickly, but I was really happy when he called out my name for the starting team and I hope to get more chances now.”
Samuelsen’s first couple of weeks with the Hammers has been spent with the first team, as he was part of the group which travelled to train in Ireland, and he is already feeling the benefits of being around the senior players.
He added: “It was fantastic to be away with the first team group in Cork. I learned a lot from the senior players and got to know them better, so it was a good trip.
“Playing with Diafra and Modibo in the front three was a brilliant experience – they’re great players so they make it easy for me. I know where they are and they have good movement. It’s a good connection.
“It looks like it’s going to be a good season for us. We have a good squad and it seems like a good group.
“I can only hope that I’m involved in the Europa League game on Thursday, but if I’m not I’ll be supporting the boys playing.”
Tickets for Thursday’s game against Birkirkara are now on General Sale, priced at just £10 adults and £5 Under-16s. Buy your ticket now at whufcboxoffice.com