Dan Kemp is hoping West Ham United’s U23s can bounce back from the disappointment of defeat in Premier League 2 on Friday night when they take on FC Porto in their first Premier League International Cup contest of the season.
The Hammers face the competition’s Portuguese holders at Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday evening as they look to kick-off their Group A campaign with a win.
Porto were triumphant over English sides in the previous two seasons’ finals – Sunderland and Arsenal respectively – as they lifted the trophy and will provide stern opposition for Tuesday’s hosts, who were beaten 3-0 by Leicester City on Friday.
Kemp, who has played in the U23s’ last two fixtures having returned from a serious knee injury, is looking forward to putting Friday behind him and starting the International Cup in a positive way.
“Friday was a difficult night,” he said. “Giving them three early goals was always going to give us a mountain to climb.
“I thought that whenever you start like that it’s difficult, but we stuck with it and although there were very little positives, it was good we stuck with it and kept going until the end.
Tuesday gives us a chance to put it behind us though and it will be a difficult test. You want to be playing the best teams and that’s how you improve.
“Tuesday gives us a chance to put it behind us though and it will be a difficult test. You want to be playing the best teams and that’s how you improve. It’s another tough game for us but it’s time to stand up and be counted.
“It will be a different type of game. You want to be challenged. Leicester was a different type of game to what you’re used to – it’s long balls, it’s second balls and they did that better than us today and that’s the reason they won. Porto will be different so we need to be ready.”
The winger helped West Ham to a 5-3 victory against Swansea City last weekend on his return to the side and is enjoying being back amongst the team on the pitch and in training.
With the likes of Grady Diangana, Joe Powell and Conor Coventry – as well as Declan Rice – all impressing and involved in first team matchday squads, Kemp believes there is plenty of motivation for the Academy’s young players at the moment.
“With people like Dec and Grady, you want that to be you and that’s what I work every day towards, trying to get a game for the first team but also working on myself as a player,” he continued.
“We’re over at Rush Green training now and the manager gets to see us and it’s easier to make an impression. Every time you get a chance, you have to take it.
“It’s great for me to be back and get a lot of games and it’s another big game. I feel good; sharp, and there’s a lot more to come.”
West Ham United's International Cup fixture against FC Porto kicks-off at 7pm at Dagenham and Redbridge's Chigwell Construction Stadium. Season Ticket Holders and Claret Members can attend the game free of charge, while tickets for other adults and concessions are priced at £5 and £3 respectively.