Westley pleased with professionalism

Terry Westley hailed the professionalism of his youngsters as the Development Squad opened pre-season with a 4-0 win at Chelmsford City
Terry Westley hailed the professionalism of his youngsters as West Ham United’s Development Squad opened their pre-season schedule with a 4-0 win at Chelmsford City.

Jordan Brown scored twice, while winger Nathan Mavila and former Chelmsford loanee Jaanai Gordon were also on target as the young Hammers swept their National League South hosts aside at Melbourne Stadium.

Academy Manager Westley was delighted to see his players overcome a difficult opening half-hour against older, more physically developed opponents to go ahead before the break and go on to produce a sparkling second half display capped with three well-taken goals.

“For some of them who came back on 22 June and were in the first Europa League squad, that was their first real game,” Westley observed. “They’ve been in training for a while but they needed and match and to go to Chelmsford was a competitive match and our players have got to be able to play to a certain standard.

“Where before I’ve looked at our team and thought we’d be in for a difficult game, in the second half we showed some very talented young players who moved the ball quickly and opened them up. The end result was a terrific display from us.

“It took a while and if we start like that as Premier League footballers, as we want them to be, the game would have been dead because we didn’t start brightly enough or compete enough. As the game went on, we grew into it and shifted the ball well and had too much for them in the end.”

The second half saw Westley hand opportunities to a number of his younger charges, including winger Marcus Browne, England U17 striker Jahmal Hector-Ingram and midfielder George Dobson, who has been training with the club in recent weeks.

“I was really pleased with some of the young ones who came on and showed a real understanding of what we wanted and a little bit of steel to go alongside that.

“Reece Oxford, Josh Pask, Amos Nasha and Josh Cullen were all involved on Saturday at Southend too in the senior group and had to come off, so the younger group had a chance to come on and did well – Marcus Browne, George Dobson who we hope to complete the signing of this week, Sam Westley and Jahmal Hector-Ingram, while Jordan Brown took his goals well.”

Westley said many of his players had clearly benefitted from training alongside the likes of Diafra Sakho, James Tomkins and Matt Jarvis during the opening fortnight of pre-season, when they were part of the same group in Cork and for the Europa League clashes with Andorran side FC Lusitans.

“That was the absolute pinnacle of integration and cohesion throughout the whole Club, with our players and staff mixing with their first-team counterparts,” said Westley.

“I’ve seen Sakho and Tomkins joining in with the young lads, talking to them about the game and I think a real example of the benefit of that was Lewis Page, who already looks like he is above this level now, and it’s happened in a month.

“If you can continue that mixing in together, that’s how Southampton and Manchester United have done it. If you mix young players in with the older, better players, you will see improvement.”

*A Hammers Under-17 side defeated Dagenham & Redbridge 4-0 in a pre-season match at Little Heath on Saturday.