Hammers U18s are 'more determined than ever' - Phillips

Pghillips and Pottsy

West Ham United U18s are more determined than ever to turn their form around ahead of Saturday’s game against Aston Villa, according to coach Mark Phillips.

Over the last ten days, the West Ham U23s have been training with the first team while a number of senior players were away on international duty.

Phillips believes that such an opportunity, to train under the guidance of new manager David Moyes, serves as great motivation to the Academy youngsters.

However, the Hammers coach has stressed that his side’s focus remains primarily on Saturday’s Premier League U18 contest.

“The players are determined as ever to turn things around, and it’s important their confidence does not drop. They are a good group of players,” Philipps told whufc.com.

Whether other players can get into the U23s group and then train with the first team, that’s the motivation.

Mark Phillips

“There are already a couple of U18s training with the U23s and it does serve as motivation as to whether other players can get into the U23s group and then train with the first team, that’s the motivation.”

He added: “But the focus is on Saturday. Every time we’ve been to Villa, it’s always been a very competitive and difficult game so the boys must be concentrated.”

The U18s looked to have found their feet when they beat Reading 1-0 at the Little Heath Sports Ground. However, last week’s defeat to Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool has meant more hard work is needed on the training ground, according to Phillips.

“We looked to have turned a corner when we drew against Norwich and beat Reading before we lost at Liverpool.

“As long as we’re competing in games, we will do well and the victories will come. We must keep working extra hard on training pitch, keep believing.”

The Hammers travel to Birmingham without top goalscorer Korrey Henry, after he picked up a hamstring injury in the team’s training session on Friday.   

Yet, Phillips is confident that his team can come away with three points as long as his players perform to their maximum.

“We need to keep performing well in games”, he said. “If you perform well, the results will come.”