Conor Coventry has long been discussed as a big first team prospect and is finally getting his chance.
His future was in doubt for some time last season when negotiations appeared to stall on a new deal but that’s now been settled.
He signed a deal in January which will keep him at the club until 2023 and is currently being used regularly in midfield – starting against Ipswich and coming on against Brentford.
Not a bad start to be part of a couple of victories although he will know as well – and better than most – that he is competing for a place in the most competitive area of the squad as a midfielder.
He is of course relishing his chance to train daily with the senior side during pre-season and believes his spell on loan last campaign with Lincoln has helped prepare him even further for a step into the first team.
“I feel good,” he told West Ham TV. “It’s always good to play at a stadium like this whenever you can and it’s good to get more minutes against a strong team. Obviously, we’ve seen them have a good season in the Championship last season, so it was a good work-out.
“I feel like a lot more of a rounded player since I’ve been on loan, and a rounded person too. I’m just really happy to have the opportunity that the gaffer has given me to train every day and get this game time. Hopefully I can keep pushing on and find my place in the team.”
Coventry played at right-back in Tuesday’s win at Portman Road, before stepping into his more central midfield role on Saturday, and the youngster is looking to make the most of every minute on the pitch.
“I enjoyed that experience at right-back. Obviously, I’m still young, so to play anywhere as long as I’m getting minutes, and I love learning different roles, so I really enjoyed it. But centre midfield is my natural role and where I want to be, so it was good to be back in there.
Pic via www.whufc.com
“I think all of those midfield names have got a wealth of experience. Even Dec, who is only 21 or 22, they’ve all got so much experience in international and the Premier League. You can learn off them all and take little things from them.”
He added: “The manager wants me to be myself. He’s told me to be myself and try and stand up in the group. He doesn’t want me to just be a young player who is in the group learning – although obviously I have to learn as well – but he wants me to try and stamp my mark and personality as well.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself. There’s massive competition but hopefully I can be involved at some point, but the main thing is that the team goes on to make a good start.
“I just want as much game-time as I can get and take the opportunities to improve, and show what I can do, so I’m really enjoying it.”