Westley - Development is key

  • Terry Westley given his thoughts on the decisions behind the destinations of Marcus Browne and Toni Martinez as they moved out on loan
  • The December PL2 Player of the Month nominees have departed the club on loan for the rest of the season
  • Westley has also called on the younger players at the Academy to step up

Academy boss Terry Westley has revealed the coaches in charge of Wigan Athletic and Oxford United were key factors in the destinations of Marcus Browne and Toni Martinez.

Warren Joyce (manager of Wigan) and Michael Appleton (manager of Oxford) both have a history of developing young players at Premier League clubs.

With Browne moving to the Latics and Martinez to the U’s, Westley believes the moves are vital to take their development to the next level.

“They’ve been two of the stand out players for us and in the league,” said Westley. “There was a lot of interest for both of the players.

“We knew Warren Joyce from his days at Man United as a coach and a developer [bringing through] Marcus Rashford, Ashley Fletcher and Danny Welbeck, so that had a bearing on where we were going to send Browne.

They’ve been two of the stand out players for us and in the league. There was a lot of interest for both of the players.

Terry Westley 

 “Hopefully he goes and plays matches. That’s the key to any loan. He’s started very well, he was on the bench on Saturday and then played a behind-closed-doors match this week. They won 3-0 and Marcus scored twice as well as being brought down for a penalty.

“Toni’s was very similar. We knew the manager and we knew he has a history of developing players from his time at West Brom.

Martinez and Browne

“Oxford, to be fair to them, really showed a desire to want to take him to the football club. He’s settled in very well, with the help of Greg de Carnys, our Head of Performance, who speaks Spanish and has been over there helping Toni settle in. I’m sure he’s going to get some game time.

“So they are two very good loans. The next step is getting matches under their belt, return to us pre-season with the thought process of pushing them to establish themselves as West Ham players.”

The departures of Browne and Martinez mean the Academy of Football currently has 13 players out on loan, which means there is a necessity for younger players to make the step up into the U23s side.

Second year scholars like Declan Rice, Nathan Trott, Vashon Neufville, Dan Kemp, Alfie Lewis and Tunji Akinola have all made significant contributions in Premier League 2 this season and Westley says there will be more chances for other players to break into his squad.

“At the end of the day we are developers. We have to try and find ways to get young players into the first team and help Slaven, his staff and the club,” declared Westley.

“The results are good and we want to try and win football matches and we think if we can win five matches before the end of the season, we’ll be in the play-off group.

“When you think of who is missing and the team we could have, we’ve done very well both ways in terms of how many games we’ve won and the amount of development time we’ve given our scholars.”

West Ham United PL2's match with Aston Villa kicks off at 7pm on Friday evening at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. Admission is free for season ticket holders - otherwise it's £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.