Terry Westley praised the performance of four-goal hero Marcus Browne after the West Ham United U23s skipper led his side by scoring all his team’s goals away at Everton in Premier League 2.
The 20-year-old struck a stunning winner from a 25-yard free-kick against Manchester City on Thursday, and he followed up that terrific performance with a scintillating 90 minutes on Merseyside as he brushed the Toffees aside.
The 4-0 victory meant the Hammers moved up to fifth in Division 1, leapfrogging Monday night’s opponents and London rivals Chelsea into the top half.
And Westley was delighted, both with his captain and the whole squad after a fantastic five days.
He said: “Marcus was too much for them in every sense. He was too quick, too powerful, his finishing was better tonight. He took everything he had.
“He was the standout player on the pitch, congratulated by the referee, and that shows you how good you’ve been, when the referee does that after the game.
“Against two really established clubs at an Academy level, they are two great wins and we really took it to Everton tonight. We shook the team up a little bit after the amount of effort that went into Thursday’s game.
“It was a chance to play one or two who have been around it and were desperate to get in the team; [Anthony] Scully, Powelly [Joe Powell], Sead [Haksabanovic]. But we kept the basis and the back four of the team together and they really gave us a platform to play off.
“We attacked really well and the goalkeeper and the back players deserve credit as well tonight.”
Browne took his tally to six goals in eleven U23 appearances for the campaign, having spent the majority of the first half of the term unavailable through injury.
Academy Manager Westley believes his recent form has shown just how hard the forward has worked since returning to fitness.
“I think the behaviour traits for [Browne] are very important and are what you need when you have been injured,” Westley explained. “You have to look after your body.
“Being out of the team and struggling with those has shown him how professional he needs to be off the pitch.
The result was also a second clean sheet in successive games for the Hammers and the back five – including the goalkeeper – remained the same after the victory at City.
“I’m really pleased for the back four and the goalkeeper,” Westley continued. “They had to dig deep against Man City and the keeper had to make great saves.
“I really felt those five, keeping them together was a good decision because they gave us the platform to go and play and they certainly did that tonight.
“We played an older Everton team. They weren’t young boys; they were pros. We had three U18s in the starting XI. It was a tall order and to win as comprehensively as we did, everyone at the Academy deserves great credit.”