Amadou Diallo: I want to be ready to go for the new season

Amadou Diallo was delighted to hit the back of the net again for West Ham United U23s in their 4-1 pre-season win over Loughborough University on Saturday afternoon.

The 18-year-old has been in sharp form at the Academy of Football’s week-long training camp at the same site, determined to put an injury-troubled previous campaign behind him.

The jet-heeled forward brought the week’s hard work straight into the development squad’s first pre-season friendly of 2021/22, opening the scoring inside two minutes with a superb solo run from the halfway line, matched by an accurate finish across goal.

After being restricted to just nine appearance across the U18s and U23s last season, Diallo’s fine strike will serve – he hopes – as a signal of intent as to what is to come.

 “It was excellent,” Diallo grinned. “The goal was about being confident and believing in my abilities because I know I can do it, so hopefully I can carry that on for the rest of the season.

“It was a good game and the boys played well. We’ve been working hard since we’ve been back in. 

“This week’s been tough, but the manager told us just to go out there and have fun – enjoy ourselves and work hard for the team – but also to take it seriously, and that’s what we did.

“Loughborough University gave us a good challenge, but I thought we played well, dominated the ball and scored nice goals.”

Diallo’s second-minute strike was soon followed up by a penalty kick won and converted by U23s summer signing Armstrong Oko-Flex - who was making his first appearance in a Claret and Blue shirt - following a clever lay-off by Diallo.

The two forwards were also joined in a pacey, interchanging attacking trio by Thierry Nevers, who joined the young Hammers from Reading last month.

With all three teenagers combining time and again in the offensive third – helping to set up a further goal for Bernardo Rosa in the first half of the match – Diallo is evidently enjoying working alongside his new colleagues.

He smiled: “They’ve both been brilliant. 

“Our link-up has been great in training in the last three weeks, and it was good in today’s game, so I’m looking forward to playing with them more often this season.”

Having returned to east London following the game, Diallo and his development squad team-mates will now look towards layering up their pre-season programmes even further, ahead of an enticing next friendly at home to Crystal Palace next weekend.

In Diallo, West Ham have a played simply itching for the new season to get going.

The forward concluded: “I just want to have good fitness and be ready to go for the season. 

“This season, I just want to get on the pitch and play every week. Hopefully, if I do well, I can try and get my first-team debut too. 

“Obviously, it’s important to win our pre-season games so we start off well, and we need to keep working hard to have a good base for this year. We want to attack the new season strongly.”