Nathan Holland: There's no holding back now for West Ham United U23s

Nathan Holland


West Ham United U23 winger Nathan Holland was happy to keep the side’s unbeaten run going against Brentford B on Tuesday.

The forward had a second half to remember as he netted a late equaliser in the friendly at Griffin Park, darting towards the penalty box before cutting inside and curling home an unstoppable finish to make it 2-2 with just five minutes remaining.

The result means that the U23s are still yet to lose in seven friendly matches and two Premier League 2 Division 2 matches under new lead coach Dmitri Halajko.

That run is a source of pride for the players, says Holland, who told “It was a really good game, and it’s good to keep the unbeaten run going. I think it wasn’t your typical friendly, which you could say is slow and not competitive. 

“It was more physical, the intensity was quicker, and I thought we adapted to that well, tested ourselves, and the result just brings out more confidence for us going forward.”

There's no holding back or pulling off now - we just need to keep going

Nathan Holland

Such confidence on and off the ball is now a hallmark of this U23 side, and Holland attributed that to former Leicester City Head of Player Development Halajko’s faith in his players.

“Dmitri has put a lot of confidence into us,” he continued. “He’s told us all to press the ball high, and that helps us get the ball quicker and have it more often, which allows us to enjoy our attacking football as well. 

“He wants us to play regular football. There’s no holding back now – we just need to keep going, keep getting fit, and we’ll get better as we go along.

“We’ve got good players up top, and good players all around the pitch. I’m really enjoying playing under Dmitri.”

Holland admitted after the game that his brilliant solo effort was an instinctive attempt to rescue the game in the closing stages.

He described it: “I’d just seen Ajibola Alese had won the ball – I thought he was terrific tonight – and he played me forward. 

“I just wanted to get as close to their box as quick as I could, was able to get inside, and I just concentrated on getting it on target - luckily it went in the top corner!”

West Ham U23s return to PL2 Division 2 action against Reading at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Friday night, with kick-off at 7pm.


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