Westley delighted with Academy signings

Terry Westley welcomed the signings of Marcus Browne and Dan Kemp
Academy manager Terry Westley spoke of his delight after signing two highly rated prospects in the space of a week.

Academy of Football product Marcus Browne, 17, put pen to paper on a professional contract while exciting winger Dan Kemp, 16, signed from London rivals Chelsea.

 Reflecting on a busy yet highly productive week for the West Ham United Academy, Westley said: “It’s been a very good week for the Academy. We’ve signed two very exciting players, two game changers if you like, they’re both players who can open a game up and make things happen.”

Midfielder Browne has gone from strength to strength this season, having suffered injury problems last term, the youngster has taken the step up from the U18s to the U21s in his stride.

Since making his Development Squad debut against Arsenal, he has made seven appearances scoring in the 4-0 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Westley continued: “Marcus has been offered a professional contract. It’s richly deserved, he’s been one of the best U18 players and he’s transferred that to the U21s where he’s really caught the eye.

“He did well in the behind-closed-doors game with Crystal Palace, playing as a No10 in front of Mark Noble and Alex Song.”

Westley was equally delighted to capture the signature of diminutive yet explosive forward Dan Kemp.
With several clubs interested in the 16-year-old, the Academy manager described the process in securing the teenager’s talents.   

“I joined West Ham about 18 months ago and I took an U16 team to Chelsea where he ripped us apart. I quickly asked Dave Hunt (Head of Recruitment at the Academy) ‘Who is this boy?’ but Chelsea quite rightly wanted to keep him.

“He’s been there a very long time; it’s been a great apprenticeship there if you like. I kept nagging away at Neil Bath the Chelsea Academy manager and now the time was right.

“Danny sees a great pathway here to the first team, and he has a real opportunity here. I’m delighted that he’s come over to us.”

 With both Browne and Kemp’s futures sorted, Westley is expecting big things from the pair, at both U18 and U21 level.

Despite Kemp’s diminutive size, Westley is confident the winger’s ability and skill: “It doesn’t matter too much about size or height, Danny is in the same mould as a David Silva, he can take the ball and he can beat you. With the length of the contract we’ve given him time to develop, that time is valuable.

“We should put him under a lot of pressure because he’s a big marquee signing for the Academy, and he’s also good enough to handle that extra expectation.

“We don’t just sign anyone, we’ve chased him for a while, and we know what we’re getting. We will have to be patient and that’s why it’s a longer term contract.

“I certainly expect to see him play for the U21s; I see no reason why he can’t take the ball and make things happen for us at that level.”