Conor Coventry is looking to pick up where he left off after being invited to West Ham United’s pre-season training camp in Switzerland.
The 18-year-old won the Dylan Tombides Award after enjoying an outstanding 2017/18 campaign during which he featured four times in the Checkatrade Trophy and started eleven times for West Ham’s U23 side in Premier League 2 Division 1.
Throw in a debut for Republic of Ireland U19s and the talented midfielder is determined to build on a breakthrough season with another strong showing in front of new first-team manager Manuel Pellegrini.
I just need to try to impress every day and learn every day, so there’s plenty of incentive for all of us, as all you can ask for is opportunities
“It’s great to get back after a holiday and to come away with the first team is even better, so training is of a really high standard and it’s really good to be back,” he began. “Being pre-season, it’s hard work and the tempo is higher than the 23s and, even though it’s not that much higher, it makes a massive difference. It’s really tough.
“I’ve enjoyed the sessions so far and it’s really good to know we have more coming. I just need to try to impress every day and learn every day, so there’s plenty of incentive for all of us, as all you can ask for is opportunities.”
Coventry says Pellegrini has personally welcomed the Academy of Football prospects who have travelled to Switzerland alongside the senior professionals, with the likes of Declan Rice, Nathan Holland, Nathan Trott, Josh Pask and Marcus Browne all hoping to catch the Chilean’s eye in Bad Ragaz.
“The manager was speaking to us about making sure we are ready for the season and how he wants us to play. He’s been really good with us young boys, welcoming us in and making us feel part of it all, so I think it looks really encouraging for the Club.
“The older players are really helpful. They know what it’s like to be here. Nobes has been speaking to me about my passing and, if I listen to those guys, I can learn so much.
“It’s so helpful for us being around them, so when we go back to the 23s we need to try and keep the same level and get to here. It’s so good for our development.”
Having achieved so much at Academy level, Coventry is keen to keep on improving over the coming season, even if that means being selected ahead of the players he has shared a dressing room with for the past few years.
“I want to train as much as I can with the first team and get as used to that as I can and make sure I play every week in the 23s and be one of the best players there and standout and see where it takes me.
“Everyone gets along and everyone knows they are fighting with each other but, off the pitch, we don’t really let it get to us and we all just act like friends and are friends.
“On the pitch, you have to know the difference, which is tough, but we’re all good friends off the pitch.”