West Ham United can confirm that defender Ajibola Alese has joined EFL League One side Accrington Stanley on loan until 2 January 2020.
The 18-year-old centre-back has been an ever-present force for West Ham U23s so far this season, starting every game under lead coach Dmitri Halajko, and will now further his development in the Football League at Accrington.
Alese believes that the switch to the Crown Ground - and a different level of competition - presents a challenge that will ultimately benefit his progression as a player.
I know League One's going to be tough but... I think it'll be a good step in my career and it'll help me a lot.
He said: “I’m very excited – I’ve heard a lot about Accrington Stanley and done a bit of research about the club, so I can’t wait to get started.
“So far in my career, I’ve only played Under-23s football. I know League One’s going to be tough, but if I can go in there and do well, I think it’ll be a good step in my career and it’ll help me a lot.”
A prodigious talent blessed with pace and a natural reading of the game, Alese made his U18 Premier League debut for West Ham while still a schoolboy, featuring against Norwich City in February 2017.
He would go on to make a further seven appearances for the U18s that season despite being just 16 years old, and was duly rewarded with an Academy of Football scholarship that summer, subsequently signing his first professional contract with the Club last July.
Alese’s talents have also been recognised on the international stage, captaining England’s U16 side before playing a key role as his nation reached the last four of the 2018 UEFA European U17 Championship finals on home soil.
His new side Accrington have enjoyed a mixed start to their 2019/20 League One campaign, conceding six times in three winless games before finally overcoming MK Dons 2-1 on Saturday.
Alese is hoping he’ll be able to help in that department, adding: “Hopefully if I can get some playing time, I can help shore up the defence - and hopefully we can get some wins.”
Everyone at West Ham United wishes Ajibola all the best during his loan spell at Crown Ground.