Iron Cast

Iron Cast | Jarrod Bowen on his journey to West Ham, setting high standards and international ambitions

West Ham United forward Jarrod Bowen is the latest guest to look back at some of his career highlights on Iron Cast. The Club’s official podcast!

The England forward has clocked up 199 appearances for the Hammers since arriving from Hull City in the January transfer window of 2020, having previously captured the attention of many during a five-and-a-half-year spell at the Tigers. 

Bowen, who made his name at non-League side Hereford United, gained interest from a number of English sides, and while describing his unconventional route into the game, the 27-year-old outlined the high standards he sets for himself and how it has set him up for the successful, record-breaking season he has enjoyed. 

On the Club scene, Bowen has scored 19 goals in 41 appearances this term, including the second in the UEFA Europa League 5-0 thrashing of Freiburg last month, that saw him reach double digits for career goals in Europe.


Bowen x Hull City

Speaking to Iron Cast co-hosts Chris Scull and James Collins, he said: “I was 16 or 17 when I was at Hereford United and was going into a men’s changing room, who all had played hundreds of games in the Football League. They [Hereford] were in a lot of financial difficulty at that time and were in a relegation battle. I had four or five months of seeing what it meant to win games, but I remember we beat Aldershot away 2-1 on the last game of the season to stay up and that feeling at only 17 years old was unbelievable.

"There’s a video of everyone in the stands on their phone, as we were waiting for another result to come in, and once they [Chester] got beat around 1,500 away fans were celebrating. It was an amazing feeling to help my local team stay on up the final day of the season, especially being so young, and being a part of that environment definitely stood me in good stead [for the rest of my career]. 

“It’s a lot of pressure [in that environment] but you’re there to make mistakes. There are things that you might get away with in youth football, but you won’t get away with in senior football. 

“I’ve only ever been back there once and that was when I was with Hull City in a pre-season friendly. I’d love to go back, hopefully I will at the end of my career. 

“At that time, I never thought I would play the level of professional football that I do now. I don’t think I stood out, but you’d have to ask other people, it just felt more of an honour than anything to be playing with my local team that I was with since the U12s age group until U18s.”

Bowen could have stayed in his Midlands comfort zone when the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers came calling. But he decided to make a life-changing move to Hull City - almost 200 miles away from his hometown of Leominster. 

Since netting on his Hull City debut at Aston Villa in August 2017,  his career has only gone on an upward trajectory. 

“I had West Brom and Wolves also interested which was a bit closer, so I was like get me there,” Bowen said. “But it was mainly my dad who made me go as far away as possible, so I could learn how to live on my own and all the other stuff off the field and stand on my own two feet. 

"Otherwise, I would have just been at home every weekend. We sat down and discussed every decision and what we could do but he [his dad] was pushing more for the Hull City move. He said he knew I could take myself to the next level on the pitch but told me I would grow as a person there off the pitch. 

“The first month was difficult because I am a family orientated person, so not being able to just pop down and see my family was very difficult. Obviously, you have FaceTime and stuff but it’s not the same as seeing them in person. But it has definitely helped me get to where I am now. 

“When I first went there, I didn’t play football for six months. Coming from Hereford and non-league where there wasn’t training, wasn’t a gym and loads of nutrition like there is now, I went into a full-time environment, and I was thinking ‘what is going on here’ and I soon had a lot of problems with my ankles and my joints, which was probably because I hadn’t experienced that environment before. 

"I was fit and was fine, but they told me I’m not playing football for six months as they wanted to try and strengthen me up."

Bowen is prolific – there is no doubt about that. 

In the two-and-two-thirds of a season since his Tigers breakthrough, Bowen found the net on 52 occasions, while of the 117 Championship appearances he made for Hull, he started just six as a central striker. 

The forward recalls the day he joined the Club and has spoken about the high, consistent standards that he has set for himself throughout his time in Claret and Blue. 

“I remember the whole day. I had two good seasons at Hull [City] and was always thinking if I was going to get a move. There was always talk but my agent let me know that nothing was going on, so I kept my head down and continued working. 

"It got to the last day [of the transfer window] and my dad and brother were up for the day in case anything happened, but it seemed as if nothing was. I had a chat with my agent in the morning and he said that it looks as if I will be staying here. My aim then was to better the 16 goals I had and get Hull City up through the play-offs. 

“I went into training normally, went for breakfast as I normally would and the manager at the time, Grant McCann, said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and pulled me into his office. He said that the club have accepted a bid from West Ham and my face just lit up. 

"I couldn’t really believe what was happening. I went to Leeds and did a scan for a couple of hours, and I remember being sat in Doncaster railway station ready to go to Kings Cross. Me, my dad, and my brother were all just in tears and couldn’t believe it was happening. To be playing for my local team at Edgar Street to playing in the Premier League with West Ham was unbelievable.”

Jarrod Bowen

Bowen scored on his West Ham United home debut as the Irons defeated Southampton 3-1 at London Stadium. In a performance full of attacking intent, Bowen took less than a quarter-of-an-hour to put the Hammers ahead with a calm finish from Pablo Fornals' pass.

He also scored the winning goal for the Hammers as they defeated Fiorentina 2-1 in the UEFA Europa Conference to lift their first trophy in 43 years. 

“It was a bit mental [my home debut]. I think that was the time around COVID-19 when we had four games that included Liverpool and Manchester City away,” said Bowen. “I should have scored against Liverpool, then a week later I had a similar chance and scored. We had Arsenal away and should have beaten them as well. The Southampton game [his home debut] was special. We won 3-1 and it was a perfect start. It was incredible. 

“I felt comfortable here right away but I’m not sure if that’s just how my mindset works, just don’t do too much and you will fit in, and I felt as if I did that from the first game I played. 

“I feel that when your age goes on you mature more as a player and off the pitch as well everything is settled, and I think that helps on the pitch too. For me, the summer was great for us as a Club and for me, it was about doing what I did [last season] and being better at it this season and get to the levels that I know I can get to. 

I would like to captain West Ham and maybe it comes in time. I think I’m always a confidence player so as time has gone on here, I feel as if I have had more of an influence as I know what it takes to represent this Club
Jarrod Bowen

“As much as I was delighted and ecstatic about the goal [in the Conference League final]. I didn’t really play my best football that season, so this year was about proving it to myself as I set very high standards, which I fell short of last year. 

"They might have been forgotten about because of that goal in the final, but I didn’t forget about it. For me, this season was about getting back to the levels I know I can get to, and I’ve done that. 

“When you are playing it is so hard to get caught up in it because it is almost kind of gone for me. It [the winning goal] will obviously always be there but because a new season has started, that is now at the back of my thinking, and the focus this season is doing even better again. 

"I think it is one of those things that when you finish playing you will look back and go ‘What a goal’. When you’re playing you are always so focused to do more, score more and you put that to the back of your mind as bad as it sounds. Of course, I still watch it now and again. I won’t go out my way to type in ‘Jarrod Bowen goal in Conference League final’ but if I’m scrolling on TikTok or Instagram and see an edit then I’ll watch it."

Bowen became the 44th West Ham player to represent England in June 2022. 

He has since become a regular member of Gareth Southgate’s squad, and was unfortunate not to score his first Three Lions goal in a 2-2 draw with Belgium at Wembley last month. 

And he hopes to carry his Club form onto the international stage and be a part of the UEFA EURO 2024 this summer in Germany. 

Jarrod Bowen

Speaking about his first-ever call-up and his future ambitions, Bowen said: “I was back in my hometown Leominster and was with my family. We were out for breakfast, and I was just about to order, and I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognise. I didn’t answer it because I didn’t recognise it and could have been a cold caller. I then got a WhatsApp message from Gareth Southgate saying it was him and to call him when he I get a minute. 

"I gave it six minutes then phoned him back. He said I had done very well this season and that was he was delighted to announce that I’m going to be a part of his squad. My brother was crying, my girlfriend was crying, and I was just laughing. I then went to my mum and my dad as I hadn’t told them, and my dad just balled his eyes out for literally two hours.

“I didn’t think there was VAR in friendlies to be honest, and from a corner you never think you’re going to be offside and it [being offside] never crossed my mind. That feeling I had was unbelievable as I thought I had done it, scored for England, one of the big things I wanted to do. I then saw them checking it and I was like here we go. 

“Hopefully [I can get a call-up this summer for the EURO 2024]. That’s the aim but the attacking areas for England are one of the best they have been for a number of years, so that is the competition you are up against. The biggest thing for me this season was being consistent week in week out and, even if I don’t score then I have to play well and maybe set up a goal. 

"In the last camp I played both games and when you get that opportunity to impress you need to give the manager a headache and I feel like I’ve done that.

"I know it’s going to be difficult with what I’m up against and how they’ve done this season but that is where you want to be.”