Jayden Fevrier: It was a good learning opportunity for us
Despite slipping to a late 2-1 defeat, West Ham United Under-23s will have taken plenty away from Monday evening’s match against Leicester City, according to winger Jayden Fevrier.
The match – elevated in occasion by its location at the King Power Stadium – proved a dramatic one from the off, with Leicester having a man sent off for a thunderous tackle when just ten minutes were on the clock.
The Foxes fielded an experienced line-up, however, and it was a bonafide first-team player – Demarai Gray – whose individual quality put them ahead after 22 minutes with an incisive run and cool finish.
The Hammers largely dominated the second half, drawing level through Oladapo Afolayan’s penalty kick and twice striking the woodwork, but Gray settled the match late on as another solo run and powerful shot tipped the balance in Leicester’s favour.
Despite the loss, one positive came in the form of promising Academy of Football prospect Fevrier, for whom a second-half appearance was his first at Premier League 2 level for just over two years.
In October 2018, against the very same opposition, Fevrier was introduced from the bench to become the youngest ever player to be fielded by West Ham’s reserve team, breaking Mark Noble's long-standing record aged just 15 years, six months and 12 days.
It was good to see what their first-team pros were like, and to play on a pitch like the King Power as well feels good. It was a good learning opportunity for all of us
This substitute appearance, however, marked his return to Premier League 2 level after a 2019/20 season beset by long-term injury problems.
Returning from his lay-off at the turn of the year, Fevrier – still only 17-years-old – can now celebrate a competitive return to development squad level, having been introduced in the 77th minute on Monday evening.
“It was nice to get back on the pitch in Premier League 2 and get some game time at that level,” Fevrier told whufc.com. “It’s always nice to go and play at a step up after all the setbacks I’ve had.
“It was a tough game, especially with them having ten men, as we had to try and break them down throughout. I thought we could have been better at taking the game to them more.
“It was good to see what their first-team pros were like, and to play on a pitch like the King Power as well feels good. It was a good learning opportunity for all of us.
“Those senior players showed the level that, one day, we need to get to. We have a lot to work on and a lot to learn.”
After being limited to just five appearances in U18 Premier League South last season, Fevrier has already featured four times for Kevin Keen’s youth team this time around.
Fevrier revealed that, motivated by the last campaign, he is determined to build on a strong personal start to the season, as well as the momentum that the U18s have picked up in recent weeks.
He explained: “There’s a good feeling in the U18s team now that we’ve won three out of the last four games. We’re moving forward together and hopefully we can progress even more.
“For me, I just want to work my hardest in training every day to try and play as many games as I can and improve.”
As for the U23s, Fevrier believes that the quick turnaround before their next Premier League 2 game – at home to Manchester United U23s on Friday evening – presents an opportunity.
“Every next game is a chance to put things right,” he said. “We’ll do a lot of work towards that game and hopefully we can perform well.”