Will Greenidge: Under-23s just want to keep pushing for first league win

Will Greenidge

West Ham United Under-23s defender Will Greenidge speaks as he plays: with maturity, with assurance, and with sheer determination.

The 18-year-old full-back and 2019/20 Dylan Tombides Award winner made his second appearance of the Premier League 2 season against Blackburn last week, helping his side to their first clean sheet of the league campaign.

While a match of few chances ultimately petered out into a 0-0 draw, the Hammers can take confidence from the uncompromising solidity of their showing.

Indeed, Greenidge feels strongly that his side’s winless run in Premier League 2 does not reflect the true nature of their performances, noting that they have enjoyed dominant spells in all five of their opening matches so far.

Should they secure their first set of three points when they travel to Derby County U23s on Monday evening, Greenidge argues that it could grant the young Hammers the requisite momentum to ascend the table imminently.

“Obviously in the changing room everyone’s keen to get that first win on the board,” Greenidge told whufc.com. “Everyone just wants to keep going, keep pushing – we know it’ll come eventually. 

“It’s just about not letting our heads drop and sticking together, and then from there we’ll keep on pushing. 

“Once the first result comes, I feel like we’ll go on a roll – we’ll win and we’ll win – because we’ve seen there are times in our games where teams can’t handle us. We’ve got to make them longer periods of matches and cut out our silly mistakes.”

The U23s’ 0-0 draw against Blackburn was particularly abnormal for the amount of stoppages the game incurred, a grand total of 17 minutes of injury-time being played over the two halves.

A thoroughly bitty affair ensued at Rush Green Stadium, with neither side able to build up much momentum before further injuries or stoppages occurred.

If we keep defending like we did, we can build from that. When we pick up momentum and the tempo of our game, we’ve seen that teams can’t live with us, and then we start creating chances

Will Greenidge

Reflecting on the positives from the draw, however, Greenidge feels that a repeat defensive performance of that ilk could provide a strong base for his team to return to form in front of goal.

He explained: “I think we did try to get the game flowing and when we did, we created the chances that we wanted, but it was difficult. The stoppages changed the game completely.

“It was our first clean sheet in the league, so as a defender that’s pleasing, and it was a good performance for us as a back four. 

“As a team we made sure we were solid and then we tried to build on that. If you keep a clean sheet, you know it’s easier to win matches.

“If we keep defending like we did, we can build from that. When we pick up momentum and the tempo of our game, we’ve seen that teams can’t live with us, and then we start creating chances, but we’ve just got to take them. 

“If we take that one chance – if it falls for us – then we can build on that. Football’s all about confidence and momentum, so when it gets going, we get on a roll and I think results will start coming.”

West Ham United Under-23s take on Derby County Under-23s on Monday 2 November in a behind-closed-doors fixture. Kick-off is at 7pm; you can follow all the action with our live blog on whufc.com from 6.30pm.

Please note that all Academy fixtures will be played behind closed doors until further notice. Only key personnel will be admitted on site and matches will be played without supporters present, in line with safety guidelines and social distancing measures still in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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