5 things you might not know about West Ham’s new signing Doneil Henry

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It looks as if West Ham are one of the first Premier League clubs likely to make their January business official with Canadian defender Doneil Henry poised to sign on the dotted line.

The 21-year-old has reportedly been granted a work permit to sign for the east London club from Apollon Limassol in Cyprus, with a fee of around £1.5m mooted.

So who is Henry? Here are five things you might not know about the latest arrival at the Boleyn Ground.

He hasn’t made an appearance for his current club

Henry joined moved to the Mediterranean club just eight months ago, but was straight away loaned back to former club Toronto, where he featured prominently in the MLS season just gone, making 21 appearances.

Cynics may suspect that his move to another EU nation was a cleverly manufactured deal to ensure a work permit was granted to allow the player to move to the UK.

Either way, the Hammers have their man.

He was a first for Toronto FC

After joining the Toronto FC Academy in 2008, Henry went on to captain the youth side for the next two seasons, before the senior squad came calling.

In August 2010, he signed pro terms with the club, becoming the first graduate of the team’s academy to do so.

Ryan Nelson rates him…

It appears that the man that managed him for a season and a half is the one that has facilitated his move to the Premier League.

A player under Sam Allardyce at Blackburn, it is reported that the former Toronto FC boss Ryan Nelson is the man that alerted his former gaffer to the talents of Henry.

…and so does the Canadian nation

The 6ft 2in centre back has made his way right up to the senior ranks of the Canadian national team, and he has been highly thought of for some time.

In 2012 he was voted the Canadian U20 player of the year, an award won in 2007 by Stoke City stopper Asmir Begovic, and the previous year by former Newcastle defender David Edgar.

His hometown has a habit of producing Premier League footballers

Henry won’t be the first player to hail from Brampton, Ontario to make his Premier League debut.

QPR winger Junior Hoilett was also born in the place known as ‘Flower City’, as was ex-Tottenham full-back Paul Stalteri.

The Hammers have also been linked with signing another Bramptonite in Atiba Hutchinson.

Maybe Doneil Henry can have a word with the Besiktas midfielder…

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.