Westley - Tour has been great for youngsters

  • A number of young Hammers travelled with Slaven Bilic's first team on the US pre-season tour
  • Academy director Terry Westley explained why the tour will be of such great benefit to the players
  • Westley also highlighted the importance of the loan window for the youngsters
Academy Director Terry Westley hailed the Hammers’ US tour as a fantastic experience for the younger players who joined up with Slaven Bilic’s first team.
The group of youngsters who travelled to first Seattle and then North Carolina included new signings Toni Martinez and Domingos Quina as well the likes of Martin Samuelsen and Reece Burke, who enjoyed successful loan spells last season.
And the experience gained over the time spent training with the Club’s established stars as well as minutes on the playing field will stand the promising group in good stead, insisted Westley.
He said: “It’s a great trip and a great experience for the younger players, playing in front of 40,000 the other night. They have all been around the first team and it’s a great chance for the coaches to see the boys play.
“It’s great for our young ones to be around them, to be around Mark Noble, the club captain, and Andy Carroll and the likes. You don’t get that in pre-season with your own group.
“It’s great for Toni Martinez particularly, who is a new player to integrate and see how we do things. Same for Domingos Quina, who has gone straight from being a European U17 winner with Portugal to joining up with our first team players.
“Also Declan Rice, who was a late shout after James Tomkins moved on. Rice went in there and by all accounts the boys have conducted themselves very well on and off the pitch, which is pleasing.”
While some Development Squad and Academy players will be aiming to impress prior to the Club’s Europa League qualifier at the end of July, others are looking to secure loan deals and Westley was keen to highlight their significance.
“Loans are essential in the game now,” he continued. “We’ve already done George Dobson to Walsall and Kyle Knoyle to Wigan, and we’ve had lots of enquiries which shows the standard of player we are starting to produce.
“It’s a loan before a loan before they play in your first team, some teams will tell you. There are two routes; you can go in the first team if you’re really talented and Reece Burke, Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen were around that last year.
“Or, if that isn’t the case, the likes of Samuelsen who went to Peterborough last season would be a good example [of what might happen]. In the next 14 days, a lot of those questions will be answered.”