Howes - Dev Squad prepared to face anyone

After ten games unbeaten, Sam Howes says his side fear no one
West Ham United goalkeeper Sam Howes said his side are ready and willing to face any team in the semi-finals of the U21 Premier League Cup.

Howes’ Hammers overcame Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at a packed Rush Green Stadium which was treated to goals from Djair Parfitt-Williams and Reece Oxford.

Describing his emotions at full time, Howes said: “I feel really good, it’s obviously a good effort from all the boys throughout the 90 minutes; we did well to score two early goals then stuck at it to hold out in the end.

“Absolutely, it was a very physical test, a different type of game to what we usually face. Each game in this competition has been very different, Exeter away, Fulham and now Blackburn. Obviously, it’s great to have passed this test as well.

“We’ll take any team in the semis, we know we can beat anyone, we know when we’re on our game we’re one of the best sides in the country, we’ll just focus on keeping the run going and then we’ll stand a chance against anyone.”   

Djair Parfitt-Williams opened the scoring after just 18 minutes, his fifth goal in four games, as he sided footed Jaanai Gordon’s deflected effort past Rovers’ goalkeeper Andrew Fisher.  

Howes continued to praise the forward’s blistering run: “He’s on flames the kid isn’t he?! He’s doing his good properly now. Everyone in the team is really; we’re all pulling our weight.”

While Parfitt-Williams has been leading the line at one end, Howes has played just as crucial a role at the back in helping the Dev Squad extend their unbeaten run to ten games.

Having last lost way back in October, Howes spoke of the confidence in the claret and blue dressing room: “It’s a great achievement, ten games unbeaten at any level is a fantastic achievement, we just have to keep on progressing and try to add to it.

“I wasn’t actually too nervous at 2-1, I was confident we would stay ahead; we’re ten games unbeaten so we’re full of confidence.”

With just two minutes remaining, Howes, largely untested for the majority of the match, pulled off a stunning save to deny a long range effort that looked destined for the bottom corner.    

When asked about his heroics, the England youth international replied modestly: “I was just doing my job for the team; it’s what I’m there for.”

As if being a crucial component of the Dev Squad and training regularly with the first team was not enough, Howes has also been getting first team experience out on loan at Wealdstone FC.

Howes continued to explain how the new experience was benefitting his all round game: “Playing for Wealdstone is a very different experience, it’s a different style of football but it’s a great experience, and I’m learning a lot of new things which is the main thing.

“It’s a bit tiring playing Friday and Saturday for instance, I’ve done that a few times this season, but it’s all part of it, I love playing football so it’s all good.”