Wednesday, February 19

Daily WHUFC News - 19th February 2014

Duo represent England U18s
Kyle Knoyle and Reece Burke played as England U18s beat Belgium at St
George's park on Tuesday

Two of West Ham United's Academy players were involved as England Under-18s
beat Belgium 4-0 at St George's Park on Tuesday afternoon. Reece Burke
played the whole match at centre-back while defensive partner Kyle Knoyle
played 65 minutes at right-back before being substituted. It's not the first
time the pair have represented their country, with both players having
featured for the Three Lions on 14 October 2013 in a 4-0 win against
Hungary. Burke and Knoyle have been regulars for the Academy side this
season and have helped their ascent up the Barclays Under-18 Premier League
in recent weeks. This season has also seen a first team debut for Burke who
appeared from the substitutes bench against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup
with Budweiser third round.

Adrian's Wall
Adrian and his defensive partners will be looking for another clean sheet
this weekend

West Ham United boast the highest number of clean sheets in the Barclays
Premier League this season and will be looking for another when they
entertain Southampton on Saturday. Last Tuesday's shutout against Norwich
City was the Hammers' fourth in succession - their best run of clean sheets
since the Boys of '86 season. Adrian has been a key part of the defensive
solidity - ably assisted by his 'wall' in front of him - and you could be
there this weekend to see the Hammers as they look to extend their fine run.
Tickets are available for the match from - with adult
prices starting at £37 for members (£42 non-member) and just £24 concessions
(£14 Youth Academy Members). Adrian said: "It's only my job! It's my job to
stop everything. Four in a row is really, really difficult in the Premier
League and I am really happy. We have to keep going in this direction. "As a
goalkeeper, when you have confidence, confidence in the manager and in the
other players, you are happy on the pitch. Sometimes I have to help my
teammates and other times, not too much, but against Norwich I made three or
four saves to help the team. "It's really, really amazing. The clean sheets
are important for the team and it's even more important for me, because I'm
the goalkeeper.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce reiterates the need for a winter break
Last Updated: 18/02/14 4:30pm

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has reiterated calls for a mid-season break
despite an upsurge in form from his side. The Hammers, who have been on a
warm-weather training trip to Dubai, have won their last three Premier
League games and kept four clean sheets in a row to help them move up into
mid-table. Although results have gone the Londoners' way in January,
Allardyce has again expressed his belief that there should be a winter
break. "I've said for many, many years that our country needs to close down
at some stage in mid-season for a few days. I think the data and the stats
prove that," he told Sky Sports. "The rest of Europe do it but we, because
of our fixture list, find it impossible to do which is obviously putting
players at greater risk. "I've been doing it for 12-13 years now and
everything when you come back indicates that it's the right thing to do." If
you look at the injury count over Christmas and New Year, it's shot up
immensely because of the extra games in that particular period. "With all
the data and the period of time, the Premier League feel they can't fit it
in, so as a manager I have to find the time to fit it in and find the
opportunity to take my players away. "I've been doing it for 12-13 years now
and everything when you come back indicates that it's the right thing to do.
"You get an increase in fitness, you get an increase in output and hopefully
that helps you get an increase in results so let's hope it works this time."

Asked if anything has changed in the Hammers' camp following their upturn in
fortunes, Allardyce replied: "Nothing special really. Just getting the
players fit again. "There were that many players devastated by injury it
became very difficult for us to compete at this level of football. "We
always felt that once we got those players fit again that they would
increase that level of performance and of course new players coming in the
(January) window has helped us and that's why results have got better."

By S J Chandos 18 Feb 2014 at 12:00
West Ham Till I Die

There are lingering rumours in the media that Arsenal have made Winston Reid
a £8m priority transfer target for the summer. These rumours originally
commenced before Reid picked up his ankle injury and it was anticipated that
a approach would be made in the winter transfer window. As far as I am
aware, Wenger has never actually confirmed an interest in signing the
player, but who could blame him if he was interested. Winston Reid is a top
class central defender and a leader on the pitch.

That last statement is one that most Hammers fans would now warmly endorse.
However, that was not always the case and many will clearly recall his
deeply unconvincing debut season of 2010-11. A (undisclosed fee) signing
from Danish club, FC Midtjylland, Winston had a disastrous PL debut, in an
abject 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, and went on to make a mere 12 first team
appearances throughout that relegation season. At the time, Reid's signing
was often put forward as evidence of yet another negative aspect of the
Avram Grant managerial regime. Yet Ironically, over time the contrary has
proven true, Reid's capture is the one major positive legacy of Grant's
period of management.

Reid stayed with the club in the Championship and rebuilt his confidence and
reputation with some outstanding defensive displays. In that 2011-12
promotion season, He flourished under Sam Allardyce's management and become
a regular first teamer, as the club were promoted 'at the first time of
asking' via the Play-off Final victory over Blackpool. There were some who
thought that he may have just found his level and that he would struggle on
the club's return to the top flight. All such thoughts were dispelled by
Reid's outstanding performances last season, as the Hammers secured a very
creditable 10th place finish. And he started the current, 2013-14 season, in
a similiar vein, until an ankle injury, sustained in training, in November
2013 resulted in a three month absence. It is no coincidence that the West
Ham's results seriously declined with Reid's absence and his return on 1
February 2014 was certainly a factor directly contributing to our recent

Winston Reid is an excellent all-round defender, strong in the air and the
tackle, with good positional sense and distribution and a decent turn of
pace. Moreover, he demonstrates good leadership qualities and could very
well be a future club captain. He always strikes one as a dedicated
professional, who works on his game and seeks continual improvement. It is a
great testimony to the player that he forewent the opportunity to play for
New Zealand in their 2012 Olympics team and instead chose to participate in
West Ham's pre-season. It is also to his credit that he so successfully
manages the periodic long haul trips to play for his country, without it
seeming to adversely impact upon his West Ham performances.

At 25 years of age, Reid has not yet reached his peak as a central defender.
He can only get better and must be one of the key building blocks that we
use to build a team worthy of West Ham's move to the iconic Olympic Stadium.
If the previously expressed ambitions of the board are to be believed, that
they wish to incrementally build a top class team, then Reid must be signed
on a new long-term contract. The rumours are that Arsenal are prepared to
offer £8m for Reid, a figure that does not nearly compensate for the loss of
such an important player. There is further conjecture that a raised bid of
£10m plus could convince the club to accept the bid. Once again, so
influential is Reid, even an increased fee of that level would be a
sufficient catalyst to justify a deal.

The West Ham board should not wait for Arsenal, or anyone else, to submit a
bid. They should, as a matter of urgency, sign him on a new improved,
long-term deal and kill off their interest. We need to show ambition and
build a team that can compete for honours and Champions League football. If
we are to do that then we must keep our best players as a foundation upon
which to build. Only in that way can we hope to challenge for a top six
finish and eventually aspire to Champions qualification. It is always
difficult when a top four side shows an interest in one of your players,
particularly in terms of managing the player's ambitions. Champions League
football is of great attraction for most players and one can fully
understand that. However, Reid is a good professional, who has hitherto
shown considerable commitment to the club. As such, it should be possible to
sell him an improved deal, linked to the club's future ambitions and his
central role in achieving them.

To me, retaining Reid is a litmus test of the board's prior rhetoric about
its future ambitions. I am not totally sure about Winston Reid's current
contract position. But some sources state that he will be entering the final
year of his current contract in 2014-15. If that is true, then West Ham
should seek to get a new contract in place now, as a matter of urgency. One
may well question whether Reid would sign before West Ham's PL status is
secure this season? If necessary, offer a new contract with a transfer
clause in the event of relegation, if that is what it takes to get his
signature on a new contract ahead of the conclusion of the current campaign.

SJ. Chandos.


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