Dominant U23s in fine shape as season approaches - Westley

Terry Westley


West Ham United’s ‘dominant’ U23s are in fine shape as they approach the beginning of their Premier League 2 campaign, according to Academy Director Terry Westley.

The Hammers were 4-0 winners over National League South outfit Billericay Town on Tuesday night in their penultimate pre-season friendly before they take on Tottenham Hotspur in their league opener a week on Monday.

The youngsters blew their non-league opponents away during a second half in which all four goals were scored, with Jahmal Hector-Ingram and Joe Powell scoring either side of Sean Adarkwa’s double.

And Westley was delighted with the outcome having had words with his side during the interval.

He said: “We said at half time, can we be more ruthless? It was about turning a six-out-of-ten performance into a nine and to be fair, second half, that’s what we did. 4-0 didn’t flatter us – we deserved that.

“It was a great experience for the players to play in front of a decent sized crowd – 4,000 people, a full ground – and it’s good for them to be playing senior teams. 


Sean Adarkwa has nine goals in seven pre-season games


“They will this season be thinking they can win promotion this season, and it was an absolute dominant performance from us tonight.

“We had some really good performers as well. The goalkeeper, Joseph Anang, was outstanding, Reece Oxford – who needs games – was better, and that’s the improvement we expect. Nathan Holland was clearly the best player on the pitch. He was head and shoulders above people, and that ability to go past and leave defenders, that really stood out for me.”

Adarkwa’s brace came after he had been introduced as a second half substitute, and the teenager now has nine goals in seven fixtures over the course of pre-season, for both the U23s and U18s.

“He’s only 17,” Westley continued. “He’s now scored in every single pre-season game. He’s in a rich vein of form before the season starts, and long may that continue. 

“Competition is stiff for both teams, for the 18s and 23s and one or two are starting to show they want to be in the team. That’s the competitive edge we have been looking for. 

“The Dagenham game maybe came a little bit early for us, in the first week on the pre-season campaign, but since then we have really improved. Barnet at the weekend was a good test, too. 

“The U18s play Harlow on Wednesday, there have been lots of games and lots of minutes in our legs. We have a week to go and you have got to do well to get in the team.”