West Ham United U21s v Feyenoord

Kinnear: U21s form is down to staying positive

It is clear that the U21s have a talented rooster of goalkeepers within their ranks.

While Krisztián Hegyi has played most prominently for the development squad this season, Brian Kinnear has more than held his own when given the chance by lead coach Mark Robson. 

A case in point was the 3-0 win over Feyenoord on Tuesday evening, where Kinnear was a calm presence between the sticks and also with the ball at his feet.

The Glasgow-born stopper made a few decent saves too. The sort of stops he labelled as 'standard' but ones that proved vital as the young Hammers recorded a third straight win in all competitions.

“We are all buzzing,” Kinnear said, after the Hammers took their first three points of the Premier League International Cup group stage. “Obviously the result is great, but I am most proud of the way we played against Feyenoord. In the second half, it was a really strong performance.

“I am really happy with the clean sheet too. It was tough for us at the back at times because of the way their attackers pressed us. But I thought we dealt with it well. We went a bit longer at the right times.”

West Ham United U21s v Feyenoord


If there was any doubt in the depth of goalkeepers at the Academy of Football, it was confirmed as 18-year-old Mason Terry made his U21s debut in the 85th minute - and then produced a superb stop in the closing moments.

For Kinnear though, the Premier League International Cup has seen him register more minutes under his belt, having previously impressed in outings against MK Dons and Crystal Palace this campaign.

A product of the Rangers Academy, the Scotland U21 international’s professionalism, determination and quality means he will keep pushing Hegyi throughout the season. 

Two goalkeepers vying for opportunities is a great problem for the U21s to have.

“It is difficult,” Kinnear says, honestly, “because Hegyi has been playing and doing really well.

“For me, I want to come back after the break fit. I want to keep doing what I have been doing and push for minutes as much as I can. And when I get the opportunities like tonight, I want to make sure I am ready for it.”

West Ham United U21s v Feyenoord

Players taking their chances has been the case across the pitch, with Robson using 32 players so far at U21s level in 2022/23.

Clearly, the U21s squad – and the wider Academy of Football’s - depth has allowed lead coach Robson to work his way through a packed schedule. For example, the match-winner against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night - Ollie Scarles - was an used substitute against Feyenoord.

Such quality throughout the U21s has helped the young Hammers head into the mid-season break on the back of three straight wins.

“It is no secret at the start of the season the mood of the group was down,” Kinnear added. “We were playing well and it was just not going for us – in terms of chances and teams scoring against the run of play. And that is tough to take - when you are coming off the pitch and thinking: ‘we have played well here, but then we’ve still lost.’

“A big part of [the run of wins] is to do with the players and coaching staff remaining positive when times were tough. Coming off those three wins now, the mood has completely changed in the group.

“Now, we are starting to see the breaks go our way. We are scoring more and picking up the results.

“After the break, will be looking to kick on further.”

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