Academy Stars Ready for a Big Step Forward

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West Ham United Under-21 head coach, Mark Robson is buzzing about reuniting with Reading, a team he represented on loan more than three decades ago.

Robson, now 55 and a lifelong West Ham supporter, made seven appearances for Reading under Ian Branfoot and experienced four additional loan spells before permanently signing with West Ham. He has been coaching at West Ham since 2021.

The upcoming EFL Trophy draw has placed Reading in the same group as Robson’s young West Ham squad, along with Newport County and Cheltenham Town.

Commenting on the draw, Robson stated, “I think it’s a really good draw. We’ve faced Cheltenham and Newport a few times over the years, so we know we’re in for a tough couple of games there. Playing Reading is another great draw, offering the chance to compete at their stadium. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the lads, and they’ll be looking forward to it.”

For me, the EFL trophy run was one of the highlights of last season culminating in a knockout round defeat to Wycombe Wanderers. It’s a an amazing opportunity for West Ham’s best young players to feature against senior men’s teams.

It’s also worth pointing out that many of The Irons U21 players were 17/18 years of age last year which makes their unbeaten progress from the group stage even more remarkable.

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Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose