George Earthy

Young Hammer of the Year George Earthy reflects on 'incredible' day

West Ham United midfielder George Earthy enjoyed a productive Saturday afternoon at London Stadium, being presented with the 2023/24 Mark Noble Young Hammer of the Year award following an unforgettable outing against Luton Town in the Premier League!

The coveted Young Hammer of the Year prize is given annually to the Academy of Football’s outstanding young professional and is named in honour of Sporting Director and former Club Captain Mark Noble. 

Earthy, who marked the occasion with his maiden senior goal less than one minute into his introduction against Luton, was delighted to pick up the award and also find the net for his boyhood Club for the first time.

The 19-year-old stated: “It’s a huge honour to pick up the Young Hammer of the Year Award – so many top players have won this award so to be on that list means so much.

I can’t really describe that feeling of the ball hitting the net and getting to celebrate in front of the fans
George Earthy

“I don’t think today could have gone much better for me. Coming on and getting the reception I did from the fans and then scoring my first goal was like a dream. I still don’t think it’s all real, to be honest!

“I have been at West Ham since I was six and to score today for a Club I’ve supported all my life, and had Season Tickets for, means so much. I can’t really describe that feeling of the ball hitting the net and getting to celebrate in front of the fans.
“I have so many people to thank, especially the coaches I’ve worked with during my time at the Academy, and the senior coaches for giving me this chance."

Fresh from an FA Youth Cup and league double with the U18s last term, Earthy made development football his own in 2023/24 and became a main player as Steve Potts’ side finished second in Premier League 2 ahead of the Play-Offs that will confirm the league’s victor.

The attacking midfielder, who signed a new professional contract with the Irons in September, has made 31 appearances for the U21s, scoring 15 goals.

Switching between No10, a wide role, and a deep-lying No8 position, his performances were instrumental as the U21s also reached the Bristol Street Motors Trophy round of 16 and the Premier League International Cup semi-finals. 

His run of form was rewarded with a first-team debut in March in West Ham’s 5-0 win over SC Freiburg in the UEFA Europa League, before a Premier League bow arrived against Fulham in April.

Earthy then marked his return to senior action with a neat finish - his first senior West Ham goal - to secure a 3-1 win over Luton at London Stadium.

Earthy was selected for the Young Hammer of the Year award by U21 lead coach Potts and the rest of the team's coaching staff, who admitted the decision was made exceptionally difficult by the number of players who went above and beyond for the development side this season.

Potts stated: “There have been some top performers across the development squad this year, so it has been a really tough one to pick but I don’t think anyone in the squad would begrudge George getting the award because he has been fantastic for us.

George Earthy

“He gives you a lot of quality, George. He has top football intelligence and that adds another layer to the way the U21s want to and can play with him in the eleven. 

“He gives you assists and goals, but most importantly he works hard, and he is always at the top of our running stats. With all that combined, what he brings to the team is priceless. 

“It starts with the intensity of how he trains every day and sometimes you have to drag him in because he has that love for the game. Myself and the coaching staff can’t speak highly enough of him and how good he has been this year.”

Speaking about Earthy receiving the award named in his honour, Sporting Director Noble explained: “This award is fully deserved and fitting recognition for the fantastic season that George has enjoyed.

“After playing a big part in the U18s' success last year, winning the FA Youth Cup and league double, the challenge for him was to push on again and find another level, and he has done that. This season has seen him make another huge step in making his first-team debut in the UEFA Europa League and then a first appearance in the Premier League, too.

Mark Noble on George Earthy

“He has a fantastic attitude towards his development. He works hard on and off the pitch, listens to advice and always wants to get better. It is testament to his personality and talent that the first-team players have accepted him into the group, and you could see when he came on against Fulham last month that they immediately trusted him.

“George has been with the Academy since the age of six, so he knows the Football Club inside out and loves being here. At the age of seven, he walked out with me as a mascot – I still have the photograph – and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow and develop ever since then, both as a player and as a person.

“I’ll never forget, around four years ago, I was first-team captain at the time, and George was 15. I was at Chadwell Heath with my son, and George asked me if I would watch some of his clips with him in the video room because he wanted to learn and find that little extra to help push him on.

“That told me all about his attitude and his determination to be better. If he continues to work hard and build on the progress he has made this year, I’ve no doubt he has everything it takes to have a big future at this Club.”

Everyone at West Ham United would like to congratulate George on winning the Mark Noble Young Hammer of the Year Award!