Dixon adds to the attacking options
WEST HAM have taken a gamble on a youngster once described as the Irish Theo Walcott, by signing him on a three-year contract, writes DAVE EVANS. Striker Terry Dixon was called up to the full Republic of Ireland squad at the age of 16 back in 2006, the sa
WEST HAM have taken a gamble on a youngster once described as the Irish Theo Walcott, by signing him on a three-year contract, writes DAVE EVANS.
Striker Terry Dixon was called up to the full Republic of Ireland squad at the age of 16 back in 2006, the same time that Walcott was making his mark with the England team.
But the players' careers have changed rapidly since then and Dixon was released by Tottenham in March of last year after persistent problems with his right knee.
Dixon, now 19, has been compared to Wayne Rooney in his style of play, but for now he will be concentrating on impressing manager Gianfranco Zola.
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"I'm pleased to have signed the contract," he said. "I'm back in full training next week and hopefully I want to push on to the first team towards the end of the season.
"I'm so relieved to get back to fitness as it's just so annoying to have those niggles because you have been out for so long."
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Dixon spent two months receiving treatment from a knee specialist in Belgium, before working at Chadwell Heath to try and earn himself a place in the West Ham squad.
"The fitness team have done a lot of work with me to make my leg a lot stronger and my knee never swells up now," he explained.
"I'm just glad West Ham took the chance on me and hopefully it will pay off."
With Craig Bellamy leaving in January and Diego Tristan failing to make any real impression in the West Ham squad, Dixon could be the new attacking option they need going into the last couple of months of the season.
"My aims for the season are to get matches under my belt for the reserves and if I do well there, hopefully I can get into the first team squad," said Dixon.
"I want to repay the faith the club have shown in me, if not this season, then the season after."
Bringing in Dixon is certainly a big gamble by the Hammers, but if he has conquered his injury problems, then he may well be another exciting young talent at Upton Park - as well as one in the eye for rivals Tottenham!
Zola will certainly relish the prospect of working with another talented young player, after rumours of his impending departure proved to be false ones.
Phil Scolari's sacking at Chelsea on Monday, put the little Italian firmly in the frame to replace him, but by Wednesday, Dutchman Guus Hiddink had been put in charge until the end of the season.
It was a result that certainly pleased West Ham midfielder Mark Noble.
"The manager and Steve Clarke have been a great asset to the club," said Noble.
"I'm only 21, but I've already seen a lot of managers come and go, but the way the boss and Steve bounce off each other really works.
"The manager came in and put so much belief in everyone that they have so much talent, and they can then go out and play freely and with a smile on their faces."
West Ham fans can breathe a sigh of relief, but come the end of the season, those Chelsea/Zola rumours will surely start again.