Phillips calls for reaction in U18 Premier League Cup opener

Veron Parkes and Seb Nebyla in action against Tottenham Hotspur U18s


West Ham United U18s may have hit a roadblock in the shape of Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, but coach Mark Phillips insists one bad result is not going to ruin a bright start to their season.

The young Hammers will seek to put their 9-0 U18 Premier League South defeat at the hands of Spurs in the past when they take on Blackburn Rovers in the U18 Premier League Cup on Saturday.

There, Phillips says the likes of centre-back and captain Ajibola Alese and in-form forwards Bernardo Rosa, Veron Parkes and Seb Nebyla (pictured, above) will seek to fire the team back to winning ways.

We trained well this week and I am sure the boys will be ready to go come kick-off time

Mark Phillips

“We started fantastically results-wise by winning four games out of four in the league but, for various reasons, we’ve lost the last two,” he explained. “We’ll be doing all we can to change that at Blackburn today.

“If you ask me for one reason why we’ve not performed quite so well against Aston Villa and Spurs, it would be the loss of Ajibola Alese to the U23s. He plays centre-back for England U18s and has started the previous two U23s games.

“He’s captain of the side and his influence reflects on the team. He has stood out whenever he has played and it’s no coincidence that our results have dipped since he went up, although it’s not solely down to him, obviously.

“Rosa has scored in the games he has played and Veron and Seb have played well, too. A lot of them have had their taste of U23s football, which shows the pathway is working.”


The U18s prepare to face Tottenham Hotspur


The scholars will have a chance to put things right in Lancashire today, when they kick-off their U18 Premier League Cup Group E challenge against Blackburn.

With Leicester City and Manchester City also in West Ham’s group, Phillips says the competition will give his and Jack Collison’s players the opportunity to experience opposition from U18 Premier League North they would not otherwise face.

“We have an overnight stay on Friday and that experience of staying together in a hotel after what happened last weekend will have done them good. We are all keen to put things right.

“The U18 Premier League Cup is played on a league basis, with the top two from each group going through to quarter-finals.

“It will be nice to test ourselves against teams who are not in our division. It’s a good competition and hopefully we can go through to the knockout stages.

“We trained well this week and I am sure the boys will be ready to go come kick-off time.”