May 24 2013 Latest news:
Nathaniel John, West Ham Correspondent
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
West Ham youngster wants to play first-team football
Hammers youngster Dan Potts made the step up to the first-team set-up last season, making his debut against Barnsley in December 2011 when West Ham suffered a defensive injury crisis.
And despite only being a few months past his 18th birthday, the left-back is already targeting becoming a Premier League regular in this season’s campaign.
Potts was just 17 when he was called into the first team at the end of the calendar year, making four appearances in December and January.
The left-back was then frequently named reserve for the remainder of the season, but is hoping to force his way into Sam Allardyce’s plans once again for this year’s campaign.
“I’ve had my taste and that will stay with me forever,” said Potts, the son of Hammers legend Steve.
“That was my dream and it will stay with me forever.
“I want to push for my place and start, I don’t want to be thought of as a squad player.
“I want to be playing for West Ham United. I don’t think that it is a matter of age, I think if you are good enough then you will play.
“Obviously we were down in the Championship last year and the Premier League is another step up in terms of quality, but that is where I want to play my football.
“I am still developing but I’m at the stage where if I’m technically good enough then I will play.
“I’m going to keep working in the gym and during training sessions and hopefully I’ll get my chance.”
Prior to the permanent signing of George McCartney from Sunderland a fortnight ago, Potts was the only recognised first-team left-back at the club.
However, the teenager has been quick to welcome the competition and admits that he looks up to the former Northern Ireland international and hopes to emulate the sort of career that McCartney has had.
“George has had a great career and I’m glad he has signed for us because he is a great role model for me,” he said.
“I watched him play last year and he was voted players’ player of the year and I thought he fully deserved it.
“He’s a very consistent player and has had a good career and is an established left-back.”
Before this summer, Potts had only experienced a pre-season regime with the Academy, however the teenager is relishing the chance to train day-in, day-out with the rest of the first team, following the Hammers’ recent trip to Austria.
“It’s been a great experience for me coming away with the boys,” he said.
“I’ve been used to pre-season with the Academy and this is a big step up.
“It’s a lot harder, especially in temperatures like this.
“I think everyone is in the same boat, everyone has had time off and has come back in and looked in good nick during the sessions.
“It’s a big year for the club and for the squad in general and for me.
“The buzz is still there from after we got promoted. Pre-season is hard work but you’ve got to do it because it’s part and parcel of being a footballer.
“The players know what it is all about because they are Premier League players and they want to stay there.”