Preview: U21s face Brighton in Premier League International Cup quarter-finals

West Ham United U21s v Brighton & Hove Albion U21s
Premier League International Cup, Rush Green Stadium, Friday 23 February 2024, 7pm GMT

West Ham United U21s will look to book a place in the Premier League International Cup semi-finals when Brighton & Hove Albion visit Rush Green Stadium on Friday night.

The Hammers progressed as runners-up in Group B to secure a last-eight tie against the Seagulls.

Read on for a full preview below...



Tickets are available to buy at the turnstiles on Friday evening, priced at just £5 for Adults and £1 for U18s.

West Ham United men’s Season Ticket Holders can attend the fixture for free, and just need to show proof of their Season Ticket at the turnstiles.


How To Follow…

You can watch the fixture for free on the Club's website, YouTube, and TikTok channels.

A live blog will be available on the Club’s website, while highlights, reaction, and a match report will follow shortly after the full-time whistle.


The Premier League International Cup Explained...

The Premier League International Cup features 12 of England's best Academy sides against 12 of the top development squads from the rest of Europe, split into three groups of eight.

The top two teams from each group and the two best third-placed teams have now advanced to the quarter-finals, where the ties are decided in one-off matches, with extra-time and then penalties required if the match is level after 90 minutes.

You can read more about the tournament HERE.



Brighton & Hove Albion are familiar opponents to West Ham, with the young Seagulls currently sitting six places behind the Hammers in eighth in the Premier League 2 table.

The two sides are yet to face off in the league in 2023/24, with a meeting set for 7pm on Friday 15 March on the South Coast. Last season, both teams won 3-2 at home in their two PL2 head-to-heads.

Brighton qualified for this season's PL International Cup last eight ahead of West Ham as winners of Group B, having won all four of their games against Valencia, Celtic, Olympique Lyonnais and GNK Dinamo Zagreb. Last year, they exited the competition at this stage, at the hands of Valencia.

In the dug-out for Brighton is Shannon Ruth, who began coaching with Chelsea at the age of 18.


Coach’s View…

The emotions of knockout football are crucial for the U21s to be exposed to, according to lead coach Steve Potts.

The Hammers impressed on their way to the last 16 of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, and now face their second knockout football challenge of the season having reached the latter stages of the Premier League International Cup.

Potts, who has been impressed by the standard of opposition in this season’s competition, expects another tough test against Brighton & Hove Albion.

He stated: “It will have that edge to it because you don’t get a second chance in knockout football, so you have to perform.

Steve Potts watches the U21s vs Chelsea

“All you want at this level is to keep testing the group for first-team football, and hopefully we can perform against Brighton.

“If you looked at our fixture list with Tottenham and Chelsea in the league and then Brighton in this competition, it’s three really top games in a row.

“But that is where we want to be, playing difficult games, because it’s getting the boys to the highest levels and that can only help prepare them for the first team.

“The last couple of games have shown that it is not always going to go your way, because I felt we did enough to come out on top in both games, but it wasn’t to be.

“Nothing changes from our point of view; we have to keep doing what we have been doing because it has brought us a lot of success.”


The Story So Far...

Potts’ side beat Celtic, Valencia and GNK Dinamo Zagreb - and took a point against Olympique Lyonnais - to reach the knockout stages of the PL International Cup with ten points from their four group-stage games.

The Hammers have also kept three clean sheets across those four matches, conceding just once in the 1-1 draw with Lyon.

Their last fixture against Zagreb brought a comfortable 3-0 win, with Luizao, Junior Robinson and Sean Moore getting their names on the scoresheet.