Monday 11 Jul
Updated Thursday 13 Oct 20:59
US Tour 2016

Henry’s happy North American return

Canada defender Doneil Henry is delighted to be representing West Ham United on his home continent
  • Doneil Henry was born and raised in Canada and began his career with MLS side Toronto FC
  • Twenty-three year old is a regular for the Canadian national team
  • Defender is looking forward to second US Tour game at Carolina RailHawks on Tuesday
Canada defender Doneil Henry is delighted to be representing West Ham United on his home continent.

The former Toronto FC man travelled south of the border dozens of times during his career with the MLS franchise, appearing all over the United States for the Canadian club.

Henry hopes West Ham’s visit will boost his hopes of making a bigger impact at the Club this coming campaign.

“It feels great to be back closer to home, on the same time zone [as Toronto] with great weather and great surroundings to get into pre-season right away and get our fitness back and get our legs going and get some results,” said Henry.

“It was a big experience and opportunity for me to go over to Europe and see what it was like to train with a Premier League team and I thought it benefitted me a lot. After doing that, I felt like I could play anywhere in the world.

“Just being around top-calibre players day-in, day-out and seeing how they carry themselves as professionals was really good, so with us coming over here, hopefully some of that can rub off on them and they can take something from it.”

While the Carolina RailHawks may represent new opposition for the 23-year-old, he will come up against a familiar foe on Tuesday evening in the shape of fellow Canada U23 international defender Drew Beckie.

“Myself and Becks were on the U23 Olympic team when I was 19 and he’s a great guy, always optimistic and had a great influence on that team,” Henry confirmed. “He’s a great representative of Canadian football.”

Henry is hoping he can represent himself well during West Ham’s US Tour and, he hopes, catch the eye of manager Slaven Bilic ahead of the 2016/17 season.

After an injury-affected campaign last time out restricted him to just two senior club appearances, the defender impressed for Canada in their end-of-season internationals with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

Now, he wants to continue that form in a Hammers shirt.

“It’s still really early in pre-season, so we’re definitely working on our fitness, so Tuesday’s game will give young guys like me a chance to kind of make another impression on the gaffer and show we’re ready to play and capable of getting into the team,” he confirmed.

“I’ll keep working hard, learn every day and just keep showing the right mentality.”

Finally, Henry had a word of thanks for the Claret and Blue Army, who turned out in great numbers to an Open Training session at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday.

“It’s amazing to come so far and see how many West Ham supporters there are all over the world, so it’s important to show them respect, so we all went over and gave them a clap and signed some autographs and stuff.”