Samuelsen’s happy anniversary

  • Martin Samuelsen joined West Ham United from Manchester City on 20 June 2016
  • Teenager has made first-team debut, impressed on loan and made senior Norway bow
  • Norwegian is targeting a place in Slaven Bilic's first-team squad in 2016/17
Exactly a year ago, a young winger named Martin Samuelsen joined West Ham United.

At the time, West Ham fans knew little more about the Norwegian than the fact that he had spent time with Manchester City’s Academy and scored hundreds of goals for hometown club Vard Haugesund as a schoolboy.

Twelve months later and every Hammer knows Samuelsen’s name after the tall, skilful  wideman enjoyed an eye-catching debut season for club and country.

The 19-year-old started his West Ham career by scoring on his debut in a pre-season game at Peterborough United, before marking his competitive bow with a performance full of tricks and turns against Birkirkara in the UEFA Europa League.

Next up came a productive loan spell with Peterborough, where he scored a sensational goal against Sheffield United before producing a Man of the Match display in an FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat by Premier League West Bromwich Albion.

Samuelsen’s season was far from over, as he returned to east London to help the Development Squad to win the U21 Premier League Cup, before earning his first senior call-up to the Norway national team in May – making his debut against Iceland on 1 June.
I obviously hope to get a place in the Premier League squad, but know I have to train well. I have to really impress in the summer, but nothing is impossible
So, how does the talented teenager reflect on his first year as a Hammer?

“I started by scoring a goal on my debut at West Ham, and then I got to play in front of a packed Upton Park,” he started. “I've been in the Europa League and it has been a great season. I did well in Peterborough and things have definitely moved forward.”

What about a single highlight among so many memorable moments?

“It was playing against Premier League team West Brom in the FA Cup,” he revealed. “It's the one I remember best and it was my breakthrough. It was a great experience and important for the future. I did finally show what I can do and it was the opinion in both Norway and England.

“I got just got to shown what is inside me and it was great to meet players like Darren Fletcher.”
Samuelsen turned 19 as recently as April, and he is intelligent and aware enough to know that a first-team breakthrough at West Ham will come about only through more hard work and development of his game.

However, with players away on international duty, the Norwegian is set to join Slaven Bilic’s first-team squad on their pre-season tour to the United States.

There, the youngster will hope to catch the manager’s eye yet again and state his case for a place in the manager’s squad when the UEFA Europa League campaign kicks-off in late July – and when the 2016/17 Premier League season gets under way on 13 August.

“I've talked a little with Slaven Bilic and he was impressed with what he saw,” said Samuelsen. “I'll be with West Ham in pre-season, but it's impossible to know what happens.

“I obviously hope to get a place in the Premier League squad, but know I have to train well. I have to really impress in the summer, but nothing is impossible.”