New signing Sam Ford has already hit the ground running with West Ham United...
As first impressions go few players, both on and off the pitch, have made a better one than striker Sam Ford.
The 17-year-old forward initially impressed during a trial when he scored a late winner for the U18s in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in mid-January.
That goal, alongside impressive displays in training, convinced Academy Director Terry Westley to offer the former Ipswich Town youngster a contract and it did not take the forward long to repay the faith.
In fact, it only took 12 minutes of his Development Squad debut, as Ford burst from the halfway line before beating two men and finishing nonchalantly to put the Hammers ahead against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He followed that up with a second Dev Squad strike in Monday’s 1-1 Barclays U21 Premier League draw with Blackburn Rovers at Rush Green.
Reflecting on his near perfect start to life in Claret and Blue, Ford said: “I scored in my first game for the U18s, made my debut for the U21s the other day and scored there too. Now, I just want to crack on and score as many goals as possible.
“I’ve been training with Terry’s Development Squad quite a bit. The intensity is very high and the standard is a lot higher, but I’m enjoying it and it can only make me a better player.
“All the boys are good and I feel settled, everyone really gets on with each other. The quality and the expectations are there straight away, there is a certain standard expected from you and hopefully that becomes natural.”
With an impressive average of a goal every other game, a record every striker would be happy with, Ford says he has arrived at the Hammers for an ‘exciting’ time for the Club.
He continued: “West Ham is a massive club, and I can’t wait to carry on. It is a very exciting time with the new stadium, everyone is talking about West Ham, it is definitely something to look forward to and hopefully I’ll be involved playing their one day.”
While that may be somewhere in the not so distant future, for now, Ford is happy to concentrate on playing for the Development Squad, and with an upcoming Barclays U21 Premier League Cup semi-final with Liverpool to look forward to, he has silverware in his sights.
He explained: “The Academy is a good place to be at the moment, everyone is excited for the semi-final and the rest of the season.
“I feel comfortable with the lads now; I’ve had time to build relationships off the pitch which helps as well. I’m staying in digs which is helpful, too.
“A lot of the younger players have been involved in the first team recently. I really just want to play football and get to the highest level possible. Making my Premier League debut is the dream.”
The 17-year-old is equally impressive off the pitch as he is on it, possessing a maturity beyond his years.
Having previously worked with Academy coach Liam Manning at Ipswich Town, Ford praised the effect his old mentor has already had on his blossoming career, concluding: “I’d like to think Liam likes working with me! I like working with him, he’s a great coach and hopefully he’ll help me to progress as far as possible.
“Of course, the Premier League is the best in the world so that’s where I want to go.”