Frederik Alves: U23s put a lot into Tottenham defeat
West Ham United defender Frederik Alves was happy to play his first game in Claret and Blue on Friday evening, completing a full match for the U23s against Tottenham Hotspur U23s.
The Denmark U21 international joined the Hammers on 2 January for an undisclosed fee from Danish club Silkeborg, for whom he made 48 senior appearances after joining as a youth player from Brazilian side Coritiba.
Having had a few weeks to bed into life in England, Alves started Friday's match and produced a largely assured display alongside Jamal Baptiste in central defence.
The 21-year-old came close to getting on the end of a set-piece delivery in the early exchanges, and later reacted well to intercept several threatening passes in a closely-fought first half that yielded little by way of clear chances for either side.
The game showed signs of sparking into life in the second half, with Alves doing well to cut out one particularly threatening cross at the near post, before Tottenham hit a quickfire double through substitute J’Neil Bennett with three quarters of the game gone.
It was a very physical game. There were a lot of balls down the channels and a lot of duels to win, but I thought we put a lot of physicality into the match today
West Ham U23s looked to spark what would have been a memorable comeback when Jayden Fevrier pulled a goal back with a piercing run and strike seven minutes from time, but the Hammers could not fashion another requisite opportunity.
Reflecting on his first taste of Premier League 2 - and with it, competitive English football - Alves admitted to relishing the different kind of challenge the typically fast-paced Premier League 2 match posed.
“It was different – very different to where I’m used to playing,” the defender surmised at full-time.
“I thought it was a good level. We didn’t manage to have as much of the ball as I thought we would have during the game, but I think that will come in time.
“It was a very physical game. There were a lot of balls down the channels and a lot of duels to win, but I thought we put a lot of physicality into the match today.
“I used to play in Brazil as well, which was also very physical, and I think it’s similar to that. I will also need to bring more physicality into my game personally, so that’s what I’m working on at the moment.”
A game of fine margins between the two teams meant that the 21-year-old, when reflecting on the final scoreline, felt his team rued Tottenham’s two quickfire goals.
Alves surmised: “The difference today was that we let two sloppy goals in, and they didn’t. That’s the difference – if we could’ve stopped them from scoring, we’d have won 1-0.”
As for life in England, Alves admitted that – due to governmental COVID-19 restrictions – he hadn’t yet explored London as he wishes to in the future, but the 21-year-old has been made to feel at ease around his new teammates and Club.
“it’s lockdown now so I haven’t experienced London like my friends here at West Ham have told me about!” he smiled.
“They’ve said that I’m not experiencing London as I should yet, but that will come in the future.
“Now, I honestly feel like I’m home. The Club have taken very good care of me and are still doing so, and I’m happy for that and happy to be here.”