Returning defender Mason Barrett says the improvement in form for the West Ham United U18s has led to a boost in atmosphere in the changing room, with the entire squad focused on Saturday’s match with Aston Villa.
The Irons head into this weekend’s contest at Little Heath Sports Ground on the back of three straight wins, and take on a Villa side that sit just two points above them in the league.
Barrett says the side recognises that this season hasn’t been the best for the young Hammers but insists the team have learned from past mistakes, and are now a closer group because of it.
And the youngster is ready for the challenge Villa will poise.
“As a team, we have to be brutally honest and say we haven’t had the best of seasons,” Barrett admitted to whufc.com. “But I feel we have learned a lot from that. We’ve taken the things that we’ve not done well, looked on how to fix them, and how to improve.
“Our recent form has been really good and has definitely changed the mood in the dressing room. You can tell now, before matches, that everyone is more relaxed but also really switched on and focused at the same time. It will be the same for Aston Villa.
Our recent form has been good...you can tell now, before matches, that everyone is more relaxed but also really switched on and focused at the same time.
“The team is a lot more upbeat and really enjoying playing together and winning games. I really feel we have grown closer as a team in the last few weeks.”
West Ham’s resurgence in form coincides with Barrett’s return to the team, with the 18-year-old spending 14 months on the sidelines with stress-related problems in both of his shins.
Barrett is thrilled to be involved again and reckons his injury experience will only make him a stronger player in the long run.
He continued: “It’s a great feeling to be back and winning games. I’m just happy to be playing again but our recent good form has been a real confidence boost for both myself and the team.
“I was buzzing to just get on the field in general, to be fair. It was hard to be out for so long so to just be involved again is unreal.
“My injury, in a way, has just helped me become even more hungry and now I’m back, I just want to achieve my dream of being a professional football player even more. Right now, I’m just focused on getting minutes under my belt, playing consistently well and seeing out the season in the best way possible.”