Academy Spotlight: Sam Caiger
Each week, we'll be introducing you to a promising product of the Academy of Football - in their words.
From drawing inspiration from Philipp Lahm to his talented team-mates in the U18s and U23s, meet 18-year-old defender, Sam Caiger...
The first football team that I played for was Welwyn Garden City. I joined them when I was in the Under-6s because my Dad used to coach the team. I didn’t move to West Ham until late on in Under-11s. We went to a Premier League tournament and then West Ham signed me after that.
The biggest footballing influence on me has to be my Dad. He’s tough on me but in a really positive way. Ever since I was young, he’s supported me and has followed me playing football for a long time now. There’s so much commitment that goes into playing for an Academy; just the little things like dropping me off and picking me up, he’s always been there.
I used to be more of a midfielder and my Dad still thinks I am a midfielder to be fair! When I joined West Ham, we had a trial game against Charlton. They asked me what position I wanted to play and for some reason I said full-back and ever since then that’s where I’ve played!
The biggest challenge for me in terms of breaking through as a young footballer is injuries. When you’re young you sometimes don’t know how to cope with injuries. As you get older you start to realise you’ve got to be mentally stronger through that type of stuff.
As I’m a full-back now, I’d probably say that my idol is Phillipp Lahm. Obviously, I’m not the tallest and nor is he. He’s probably one of the greatest defenders that we’ve ever seen, he’s a leader, and he's captained Bayern Munich and Germany for I don’t know how many years.
I watch clips of his 1v1 defending and even though they say that players who go to ground aren’t the best, he wins every slide tackle and that can only be a good thing.
One individual performance that sticks out to me would be Jack Wilshere when Arsenal played Barcelona back in 2011. He was only young, and he ran the game in the middle. It’s rare to see a performance like that from a player who's so young.
My closest friend in the squad is probably Jake Giddings; me and him have similar banter. We’ve always been really close, and we have a bit of a reputation in the U18s for being jokers. He joined West Ham a bit before me and since we’ve both become full-time scholars, we’ve just got closer and closer.
The hardest worker in the squad? That’s a tough one! We all work really hard so it’s difficult to say somebody works harder than somebody else, I’ll just say we all do.
Dan Chesters probably has the most natural talent in the squad. He’s great with the ball and you just wait for him to do something magic as he’s got a lot of ability.
The practical jokers in the team are probably me and Jake. We just get on everyone's nerves in a good way I think. We’ve played a few pranks, but I’m not giving anything away.
FIFA, Films & Food
My go-to team on FIFA would have to be Barcelona. The front three are lethal, cutting in with Leo Messi on the right, and his finesse shot just works every time.
I’d say I’m definitely one of the best players at the Academy. Serine Sanneh is pretty good; he’s playing it 24/7 so I’d say he’s the best. I’m in the top three though!
I’ve been playing Call of Duty recently; I probably need to settle down because I’ve been playing it quite a lot. This might sound a bit silly, but I’m really enjoying Lego Star Wars too! I’ve been playing it on my phone and I’ve almost completed it, I think I’ve got one more level to go.
My favourite TV series is Power, that’s an easy one for me - it’s the best thing that I’ve ever watched. I’ve never enjoyed a programme as much as Power, nothing beats it.
I haven’t really got a favourite film. I quite like war films; The Trench is a good one with Daniel Craig, I’d recommend it.
My favourite music artist is another easy one. I love Oasis and I love Liam Gallagher, I’m a massive fan. If I had to pick just one song, then Slide Away is probably my favourite.
My go-to cheat meal? Well, I can’t cook so it’ll have to be a takeaway. I like pizza, so I’ll say Domino's, but if I’m going out to eat then it’s Nando's.