Welwyn Garden City’s Sam Caiger signs professional deal with West Ham United
PUBLISHED: 12:21 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:21 22 June 2020
Welwyn Garden City’s Sam Caiger has signed a professional deal with West Ham United.
The 18-year-old former Monk’s Walk pupil was one of seven to graduate from the Premier League club’s academy and U18 lead coach Kevin Keen predicts big things for the full-back.
Speaking on the club’s website he said: “Sam Caiger has had to work incredibly hard this year to earn his contract.
“He spent more or less the whole of the first year of his scholarship recovering from injury but got himself back to fitness to gradually become one of the first names on the team-sheet.
“He’s a full-back, can play on the right or left, likes to attack, and reads the game really well.
“He’s got a really bright future ahead of him.”
The youngster had spoken to the club about his beginnings and the challenges he has faced.
He said: “The first football team that I played for was Welwyn Garden City. I joined them when I was U6 because my Dad used to coach the team. I didn’t move to West Ham until late on in U11. We went to a Premier League tournament and then West Ham signed me after that.
“The biggest footballing influence on me has to be my Dad. He’s tough on me but in a really positive way. Ever since I was young, he’s supported me and has followed me playing football for a long time now.
“There’s so much commitment that goes into playing for an academy. Just the little things like dropping me off and picking me up, he’s always been there.
“I used to be more of a midfielder and my Dad still thinks I am to be fair. When I joined West Ham, we had a trial game against Charlton and they asked me what position I wanted to play.
“For some reason I said full-back and ever since then that’s where I’ve played.
“The biggest challenge for me in terms of breaking through as a young footballer is injuries. When you’re young you sometimes don’t know how to cope with injuries.
“As you get older you start to realise you’ve got to be mentally stronger through that type of stuff.”
Hitchin-born Dan Chesters has also signed a professional deal with the Hammers while the others were Keenan Appiah-Forson, Harrison Ashby, Will Greenidge, Daniel Jinadu and defender and skipper Joshua Okotcha.
Speaking about the former Stevenage youngster, Keen said: “Dan Chesters is the type of player that West Ham fans associate with the club.
“He’s a very creative, quick, attacking midfield player but also has the ability to be tenacious and win the ball back for the team.
“He’s one to look out for.”
Academy manager Ricky Martin said: “All our young players aspire to be offered a professional contract, and these players have all deservedly been rewarded for their efforts and development to date.
“These players are still progressing, and fully deserve the opportunity to move into the next stage of their development with the U23s squad. They have shown resilience, determination and dedication so far, so as long as they keep those traits up, they will give themselves every opportunity to progress further in the future.”
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