West Ham United are delighted to announce that four of the most exciting Academy prospects have signed new contracts with the Club.
Jake Eggleton, Jahmal Hector-Ingram, Declan Rice and Anthony Scully signed their scholarship contracts on the hallowed Boleyn Ground pitch during half-time at Saturday'ss match with Burnley.
All four players are currently U16s with their performances impressing the coaching staff at the Academy, earning them scholarships.
England U17 international Jahmal Hector-Ingram, a prolific striker, has scored five goals in eleven games for the U18s. Selecting his favourite, he explained: “This season my favourite goal was when I chipped the ball over the keeper against Arsenal. That one was on video too!”
Hector-Ingram, alongside Rice and Scully, was one of a number of highly talented Academy members to visit the Club’s fantastic new Stadium in Stratford.
Speaking after the guided tour of the stadium where he hopes to make a name for himself, he enthused:
“It’s an unbelievable stadium. It’s a crazy, crazy feeling thinking that I might one day be playing here. It’s definitely something to look forward to. The idea of 50,000 West Ham fans singing my name is decent!
“I really think my generation could be the one that breaks through because everyone is playing up a level or two. It’ll be hard, but if we carry on like this, why not?”
Anthony Scully, an attacking midfielder who was recently named Republic of Ireland’s U16 Player of the Year, echoed his teammates’ excitement at signing in front of the fans.
“It’s fantastic to have signed my contract, especially in front of the fans. The atmosphere was great and it’s definitely one of my career highlights.
“Hopefully one day I’ll be able to thank the fans properly, on the pitch playing for West Ham. It was a great for me and the lads.”
Academy manager Terry Westley described his delight at signing four of the most promising players at the Academy.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have got the signatures of all four players. There was a lot of interest from other clubs and it shows the direction the Academy is going in that they all chose to stay here.”
The good news follows a great couple of weeks for the Academy, which saw the Development Squad beat their Manchester City counterparts 2-1, followed by 18-year-old Reece Burke making his Premier League debut away at Queens Park Rangers.
With Burke making his Premier League home debut today against the Clarets on Saturday, Westley continued to appraise his latest signings.
“Jahmal has played for England U17s in their European qualifiers. He’s a centre-forward who has spent most of the season in the U18s. He’s scored goals on a regular basis. He’s already got a full season of U18 experience under his belt so you’d expect him to do very well next season.
“Anthony Scully can beat players. He can also score excellent goals, I remember him scoring a great goal against Juventus here at Rush Green. It was a ridiculous shot, outside the box, on the volley. It was outrageous. That’s the quality he’s got.
“As for Declan, he can play at centre-back and as a holding midfielder. He has done well in both positions and has been one of our best players.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him as a full time scholar and seeing how far he can develop. I’m delighted with his signature because he’s a fantastic player.
"Jake is a right-back who has played both U16 and U18 football this season. Being an A-grade student at school, taking 11 GCSEs and 2 A Levels, Jake will combine education and football over the next two years."