Callum Marshall has heaped praise on the effort of the entire West Ham United U18s side after his hat-trick secured a comeback win over Crystal Palace.
The Northern Irishman scored from the penalty spot just before half time to give the young Hammers team hope, and his two second half goals ensured that the Irons would get off to a perfect start in the U18s Premier League South.
The striker was full of praise for his team’s performance, suggesting that it was a fantastic effort to come back against a tough Crystal Palace team.
“Crystal Palace is always a big game for us,” Marshall told whufc.com. “As soon as we found out that they would be our opponents for the opening game of the season, we knew it would be a difficult start, and to be honest it is a massive three points for us.
“It is a good start to the season for us. It was a bit of a shock when we went 2-0 down because we felt like we had been on top. To come back and win the game from there is a great achievement and I think that we did really well to come back and claim the three points.
“Everyone is buzzing in the changing rooms. We have all been singing songs in the showers and going a bit mad, so it was definitely a big result for us. Even at 2-0 down, we still felt like we had control and that we could come back and win the match. We just felt that we had to carry on pushing and, in the end, we got the goals our play deserved.”
Marshall spent the first half on the right flank, before moving into a more central role in the second half.
Evaluating his contribution to the result, he continued: “It was great to help the team and to come away with three goals. The first goal came from a penalty after a cross into the box hit a defender’s hand. The penalty was just before half time, and it was a key moment in the match. I won’t lie, I had a few nerves, but fortunately it was a good penalty to get us back into the match.
“The second goal was a bit of a poacher’s goal. Ollie Scarles had already delivered a number of good crosses from the left during the first half when I was on the right wing. In the second half, I was playing as a striker and as soon as I saw Ollie in an advanced position, I knew he was going to smash the ball across the face of goal. It was a great ball and I managed to get my toe to it.
“For the third goal, I found myself back on the right, but as soon as George Earthy got the ball I made a run in behind the defence. He played a great pass and I just hit it. I saw the keeper get his hand to it and I thought I had missed for a second, but luckily the ball found the back of the net.”
The young striker has enjoyed his first pre-season at the club, scoring a number of goals. Marshall finished as the top scorer in the U19s Premier League Next Generation Cup, with an outstanding seven goals across two games.
He evaluated: “I have really enjoyed my first pre-season with West Ham. It was really good, we had a number of tournaments and tours, and we travelled to several different countries. Most importantly, I got plenty of match fitness, and I am now feeling good and ready to attack the rest of the season.”