Coventry: The Academy of Football can shine against FCSB

With David Moyes confirming a couple of youngsters will get a chance in West Ham United’s final UEFA Europa Conference League group-stage fixture, Conor Coventry knows just how they will be feeling ahead of a possible first-team debut.

As top-spot – and direct progression to the round of 16 – are secured after a 1-0 win over Silkeborg IF last week, Moyes could give a few of the next generation of Hammers the chance when his side takes on FCSB in their UECL group-stage finale on Thursday evening.

Alongside a few experienced heads travelling to Romania, Coventry is best placed to explain how the youngsters are feeling.

The Irish midfielder is a product of the Academy of Football. He made his senior Hammers debut in the 8-0 EFL Cup third-round win over Macclesfield Town at London Stadium in 2018, while his first Premier League appearance came against Manchester City in August 2022. 

Speaking ahead of our UECL fixture against FCSB, Coventry wants those given their chance to enjoy their taste of European football. 

“First of all, enjoy it and cherish that moment,” Coventry said, on what he will be saying to the younger players ahead of FCSB. “They have all worked so hard to get to this stage. So just enjoy it and try and take as much from it as you can.”

Moyes’ outfit head to the National Arena in Bucharest looking to become the first side to record six wins from six UECL group-stage matches – a feat the Hammers will achieve should they defeat the Romanian side on Thursday night.

"[To be the first side in the UECL to win six from six group-stage fixtures] is a massive incentive,” added Coventry. “It is interesting that no one has done that yet. It is tough to do.

"The gaffer has spoken to us about momentum; hopefully, we can keep that run going.”

Conor Coventry & David Moyes

The Irons’ first UECL group-stage fixture saw a 3-1 win over FCSB at London Stadium in September and they will hope for a similar performance and result to conclude their Group B campaign with a 100% record.

But Coventry and company are under no illusion as to the test they will face on Thursday night – and look forward to having the travelling Claret & Blue Army’s support in Romania to get them over the line.

“When you are playing in Europe the teams are always at a high level,” Coventry explained. "Especially when you go away to play teams it can be really tough. It is a famous club. But we are looking forward to it.

“It is incredible that we are getting that many fans going out when we have already won the group. That support is amazing.

“I have been trying to work hard in training for any opportunities that I do get – to be ready for them. And tomorrow night is another one so hopefully, I play well and show I can be of use for the team.”

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