Familiar career path could spell success for West Ham youngster


West Ham’s Martin Samuelsen has spoken of how he wants to make an impact for his parent club when he returns from a loan at Peterbrough at the end of the season, and previous cases show he might just have that opportunity.

The 18-year-old has been in impressive form since joining the Posh in November, making six appearances in which he has scored twice and assisted with one other.

Speaking to BBC Cambridgeshire Sport he told of how he was enjoying his time at London Road, but had grander ambitions in the future:

“From the second I came to Peteborough the players welcomed me,” he said.

“I really like it here. When you have the backing of the players you try more things which is what my game is all about.

“Short term I want to get promoted with Posh and go far in the FA Cup. Long term I want to play for West Ham and win trophies with them and play in Europe.

“It’s important not to rush things. I can gain confidence here to move up to the Premier League next season.”

While the playmaker is operating in a division two tiers below his east London employers, a jump straight into Slaven Bilic’s senior team next term isn’t out of the realms of possibility.

The Norwegian-born talent has already donned the claret and blue of the Hammers’ senior side twice since joining from Manchester City’s youth set-up, coming off the bench in Europa League qualifying ties against Maltese outfit Birkirkara.

The capital club certainly have a history of using a loan spell in the third tier to prepare their inexperienced players to be thrown in at the deep end, with a couple of notable success stories.

Back in 1995 a young midfielder by the name of Frank Lampard was making waves among the Irons academy ranks. Then manager, and (still) uncle, Harry Redknapp opted to send Lampard out on loan to Swansea.

Between October and January, he made nine appearances in south Wales, scoring one goal, and doing enough for his boss/uncle to recall him to Upton Park.

Less than a month later and Lampard was making his West Ham debut. Much of the next season was missed out through a broken leg, but on the start of the 1997-98 campaign, Lampard was to become a mainstay in the capital club’s midfield, right up until his departure to Chelsea four years later.

Redknapp was at it again five years later, this time sending striker and member of the club’s U19 Premier Academy title winning side Jermain Defoe on loan to the south coast.

Defoe’s time at Bournemouth would go on to launch him into a career that has seen him score 134 Premier League goals and achieve 55 England caps.

Netting 18 goals in 29 appearances for the Cherries led Redknapp to tip him for future stardom;

“He’s a bright lad who’s full of confidence. Nothing knocks him, he’s a typical goal-scorer. If he misses, he’ll be there the next time looking for a goal. He’s a kid with a big future,” he told the BBC at the time.

Redknapp wasn’t far from the truth, and although he departed Upton Park that summer, under Glen Roeder, Defoe topped the Hammers scoring charts the following season with 14 goals.

The Lampard and Defoe examples are perhaps two of the most extreme cases of a spell in the lower leagues working out well for West Ham youngsters, but it should be a big encouragement for Martin Samuelsen.

If he can continue his good form at Peterborough, he could just be taking to the field alongside the likes of Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll on a regular basis next term.

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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.