Dan Chesters reveals half-time change that inspired West Ham United U23s against Millwall


Dan Chesters

After encountering stubborn resistance in the opening 45 minutes against Millwall U23s on Tuesday, West Ham United’s development squad deserve credit for their pragmatism, Dan Chesters believes.

The attacking midfielder was a half-time substitute in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Lions – and an impactful one at that.

A largely lifeless game, in which first-half chances were at a premium and the visitors to Rush Green Stadium seemed to content to sit back and soak up pressure, sparked into life with Chesters’ introduction.

With three minutes of the playmaker being on the pitch, West Ham had created several openings, culminating in the 19-year-old controlling Ossama Ashley's through-ball and slamming home the opening goal.

I felt that when I came on, I had to lift the morale of the team to try and get them going a bit

Dan Chesters

A quarter-of-an-hour later and Chesters had an assist to go with it, clipping the ball back for Kamarai Swyer to power home following a clever free-kick from Amadou Diallo.

Chesters told whufc.com: “The manager said to us at half-time that, because Millwall were playing a low block, we needed to try and make more movements in behind their defence to get the ball. It was so difficult to play in front of them, we had to play in behind.

“Because the lads hadn’t played so well in the first half, I felt that when I came on, I had to lift the morale of the team to try and get them going a bit, so I had to do that with my energy and enthusiasm.

“It was a good 45 minutes for me personally! I think the team played well. In the second half we tried to run in behind and created so many chances, but I think we need to be more clinical with them next time to really take care of the job.

“It was good to score as well. It was my first goal of pre-season, and I was also happy to get another assist for the team.”


Dan Chesters

The match-winning appearance came at a good time for Chesters, whose natural creativity shone through in the Hammers’ final fixture of pre-season.

A season-opening match against Arsenal U23s at London Stadium – home of West Ham United’s first team – awaits on Monday evening in Premier League 2 Division 1, and it’s not lost on Chesters how big an occasion that could be.

“It’s going to be a really good occasion,” he smiled. “I’m really excited by the chance to play at London Stadium and hopefully I can show what I can do and we can get the three points to kick things off.

“We’ve got a really good squad of players this season, so it’ll be hard to try and get in the starting eleven, but hopefully I’ll be able to do it!

“Everyone’s going to be really enthusiastic in training this week. Every one of the players is going to be up for it, trying to get in the starting eleven, and that means we’ll all have to be at the top of our game.”

The goal for the coming season will be to build on the successes which arrived at the end of 2020/21, with safety in Premier League 2 Division 1 clinched with a final-day draw against none other than Monday’s opponents, Arsenal.

“Last season we didn’t do well enough in the table,” Chesters admitted. “Hopefully, this time, we’ll finish in the top half or even higher.

“We’ll always try to win as many games – and even try and get the trophy – if we can.”