Westley hails positive experience

Sam Westley is looking to impress during pre-season following a successful loan spell
  • Sam Westley is aiming to build on a strong start to pre-season with tonight’s friendly away at Peterborough United
  • The 22-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell at partner club VVV Venlo
  • The full-back is looking for further first team experience with a loan in the Football League
Looking ahead to the Development Squad’s pre-season friendly with Peterborough United later this evening, full-back Sam Westley spoke of his positive experience while on loan at partner club VVV Venlo.

The 22-year-old was the first player to relocate to the Dutch outfit, who went agonizingly close to winning promotion to the Eredivisie, losing out in the play off semi-finals.  

Reflecting on his time away from east London, Westley has only positive things to say of the experience: “My nine months away was really positive, everything that came out of it was good, both on and off the pitch.

“Living in a new country, a new language, different style of play. It took me a while to get into the team because the team was in good form, winning almost every game. We only lost a few games all season. So the manager was picking the same team, fair play really, I’d do the same.
“When I did get my chance, we won and it went from there, so it was good.”

Now back in the West Ham fold, Westley played the first half of the young Hammers’ first friendly of their pre-season preparations – a 2-0 defeat away at Chelmsford City.

He continued to describe the difference in lifestyle and culture between the English and Dutch approach to football.

Westley explained: “The football was very technical, each stadium apart from two had astro-turf pitches. That in itself makes you play a bit more football, which is good.

“Off the pitch, everyone spoke English so that helped massively. I hadn’t moved out of home before so it was a big learning experience. I had to learn to cook and generally look afterward myself so it was a big life experience.

“I 100% would recommend going out there. The football is obviously the main reason, but added to that, the off-pitch stuff is also very important.”

Having clearly enjoyed his time at Venlo, Westley is eager to gain further first team experience on this side of the channel.

“I’d like to stay in England this year, look around and see what the options are in League One or League Two.

“Winning the U21 Cup last year has helped draw attention to the Dev Squad, so a lot of people are watching our games, it’s a good standard but first team football is very important.”

In the meantime, Westley is preparing to face the challenge of League One side Peterborough United, kick off tonight is 7.30pm.   

He finished off by saying: “It was good to get 45 minutes last Friday and to get out there playing. Pre-season has gone well so far, I’m feeling good.

“Actually playing, back with the boys is nice. It was 0-0 at half-time, a competitive game so it was good preparation.”