- Domingos Quina is ready to push on in 2017/18 after a successful first season with the Hammers
- The young Portugal youth international made his first team debut in the Europa League last term
- Quina was also named as a substitute 12 times by Slaven Bilic for Premier League clashes last season
Young Hammer Domingos Quina is hoping the first team experiences he enjoyed last season can help him push on and seize more senior opportunities in the upcoming campaign.
The Portugal youth international, who was crowned a UEFA European Champion with his country in the U17 tournament last summer, made his West Ham debut in the Europa League last campaign.
And after playing in the Club’s London Stadium official opener against Juventus, the midfield talent was named on the substitutes’ bench for 12 Premier League matches during the term.
Quina also signed a new long-term deal with the Hammers before topping off the campaign by winning the Dylan Tombides award as the season came to its climax.
The teenager believes he learned a lot during his first year in English football, and is now ready to kick on once again in 2017/18.
“Training with the first team so much in my first season has definitely developed me as a player,” he said.
“The tempo of the game, the physical side of it; I’m getting used to all that now and more often. It will definitely help going into next season and being more ready from the start of it. I’m excited for it to start already.
“Hopefully now I can play in the Premier League as well, and that’s the aim. It was a good first year but now I want to kick on.
It was a good first year but now I want to kick on. Training with the first team so much in my first season has definitely developed me as a player
“I came here and went straight into training with the first team quickly, and I wasn’t expecting that.
“When I first came in, I thought that I would be looking to impress at the Academy and earn a chance later in the season to go with the first team, so that was huge that I was trusted to go straight in there.”
Despite the numerous inclusions in matchday squads throughout the season in the league as well as the FA Cup, playing his part in London Stadium’s official Betway Cup opener against this season’s Champions League finalists was the highlight for the 17-year-old.
“It was amazing,” the youngster recalled. “Playing at the Stadium against them was definitely one of the top highlights.
“Playing in front of so many fans was incredible. And then, of course, we were playing Juventus themselves – they’re such a big team around the world so it was amazing.
“To be down there, warming up or sitting on the bench many other times during the season, it has been amazing for me.”
Quina, who was a much sought-after talent before the Hammers snapped him up last summer, not only impressed on the senior stage, but also with the U23 side last season.
The midfielder was often instrumental for the Academy of Football outfit, playing a huge part as they eventually won promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1.
The summer signing also caught the eye with his stunning halfway-line strike which sailed over Leicester City U23s’ keeper’s head in a Premier League Cup clash before the turn of the year.
“That goal was also a special moment,” he said. “I’ve tried it a few times before and I’m glad that it came off. It’s been a great year for the 23s this season for me.
“I have enjoyed playing as both a No10 and a No8 in midfield, but I think at the moment I like playing as an eight more, because I can get on the ball more, be myself and do what I want to do.
“In ten, you get the ball less often and not all the time, and I like to have the ball and try and affect the play. I think No8 is where in the future I see myself playing, and hopefully for West Ham.”