Mavila praises mentor Sakho

Nathan Mavila revealed the succesful mentality of Diafra Sakho's success
For most of the squad, this pre-season has proved a busy yet prosperous time, and none more so than for explosive winger Nathan Mavila. 

The 19-year-old enjoyed a brief yet successful stint on loan at Wealdstone FC last season, and his development and maturity, both on and off the pitch, is clear for all to see.   

Mavila was one of a number of exciting youngsters to travel to the Hammers pre-season training camp in Ireland, where he fell under the tutelage of Diafra Sakho. 

Explaining how he befriended last season’s top goalscorer, Mavila said: “Diafra has been really, really nice to us, all the younger lads. In Ireland, he would come out of his hotel room and come into ours to talk to us. Everyone has been really nice, but he was the standout. 

“His main advice really was to be selfish. You have to play for the team of course, but at the same time you have to show what you can do. You have to remember that it’s your career.”

These are sentiments that Mavila has clearly taken to heart. After featuring against Peterborough United, he mirrored his mentor’s special ability of scoring by notching the opening goal of a 4-0 win over Chelmsford City. 

“I stuttered a bit before I hit it, but I thought ‘why not try it?’ Trust yourself and believe nd it went in. 

“It was really good to be playing again, we’ve been away with the first team in Ireland for a while which was a good experience. 

“Chelmsford were tough, they were quite physical, they are an older, more experienced side. On the ball I thought we were really good and our quality showed. Second half we did really well, I thought we were all over them.” 

Following an hour against the Clarets on Friday evening, Mavila was called upon for the Hammers first team win with fellow Essex side Southend United on Saturday. 

With two wins in less than 24 hours, a tired but clearly happy Mavila welcomed the challenge: “Obviously I felt a bit leggy having played twice, so it was a challenge but it’s good to be tested. Overall I thought I’d done alright. 

“It’s a great experience to play in front of so many people. Our busy pre-season schedule is great for myself and the younger players because it gives us more of an opportunity to show what we can. Opportunities are hard to come by, so it’s good to be getting a chance.”

So far the Hammers have played five first team games, with a chance of a further seven, depending on the Iron’s European progress, before their first Premier League game away at Arsenal. 

With that firmly in mind, Mavila finished by highlighting new manager Slaven Bilic’s attention to detail, both on the training ground and during games. 

“I think the new manager has been excellent so far. He’s knows everyone’s names already, the youngsters, everyone. I think that is very important. He always takes the time to talk to everyone individually about how to improve their game. A few of his staff came to watch the game yesterday, so it’s very good.” 

“A new manager coming in gives everyone an opportunity. It gives everyone a chance to impress. I’m not too far from full fitness, I’m quite a naturally fit person anyway. Hopefully after a few more games I’ll be alright."