The Big Interview - Ashley Fletcher



Ashley Fletcher has caught the eye since joining West Ham United from Manchester United in the summer.

The Yorkshire-born, Lancashire-raised striker has taken the opportunities he has earned, showing glimpses of his undoubted talent and potential in the UEFA Europa League and Premier League.

On Wednesday, the 20-year-old is expected to be handed another chance to impress in the EFL Cup third-round tie with Accrington Stanley – a club where he made his reserve-team debut for the Red Devils.
Ashley, things have gone well for you since you arrived at London Stadium, but have they gone better than you expected?

“I’m loving it at the moment. Starting against Manchester City and getting on in the other games were great for me. I’ve settled in well and want to keep progressing under the new manager and doing well.

“I’ve definitely had more first-team chances than I expected. Obviously those opportunities were down to injuries, but I hope I’ve done enough to stay in and around the squad and I want to keep coming off the bench, if that’s what it is, and doing well.

“I didn’t expect to be involved so quickly, but I’m happy with how it’s gone so far. I think I’ve put in some decent performances. Unfortunately, the results haven’t gone with them, but now all I can keep doing is impressing people and the manager and hopefully keep playing.”

Slaven Bilic went on record by saying he had planned to send you out on loan, but your performances convinced him to keep you here with the first-team squad – that must have given you a real boost?

“Yes, it was a huge confidence booster for me, knowing that the manager wants to keep me here [rather than send me out on loan]. I appreciate his support and that can only benefit me going forward and hopefully I’ll get more chances.”

I look at players like Romelu Lukaku and Thierry Henry, back in his day, as the type of players who I base my game on
Ashley Fletcher

 Your early appearances in Claret and Blue have shown your full range of skills as a striker – running with the ball at your feet, holding up play, running in behind – but would you consider yourself to be a certain ‘type’ of centre forward?

“I definitely don’t want to be known as a certain type of striker. I think I’ve got a lot of strings to my bow and have got decent pace for someone quite tall, and I’ve got good feet as well.

“I couldn’t really put a finger on what type of striker I am, because I’ve got variations of different types, which benefits me and benefits the team.

“I prefer having the ball at my feet and driving at the defence. I look at players like Romelu Lukaku and Thierry Henry, back in his day, as the type of players who I base my game on.

“Having Andy Carroll here, who is one of the best headers of the ball in the game, is great and I’ll try to bring that into my game too.”

We face Accrington Stanley on Wednesday evening in the EFL Cup third round. Coming from Lancashire, are they a club which are familiar to you?

“I remember playing at Accrington Stanley in an Under-21s game – I made my U21s debut for Manchester United there, so it’s a memorable place for me, even though I didn’t score!”

Accrington are in League Two, but have already beaten Premier League side Burnley and League One club Bradford City to reach the third round for the first time in their history. What do we expect from them?

“I’m sure they’ll be a decent side, they’ll come here with nothing to lose, so they’re the teams you have to watch, but I’d hope we’ll have enough to beat them.”