Junior is working to be a top senior

FOR MOST professional footballers once the season is finally over, thoughts turn to flip flops, sun tan lotion and a cold beer on a far-off beach, but for one West Ham player he just doesn t want the campaign to end, writes DAVE EVANS. Junior Stanislas si

FOR MOST professional footballers once the season is finally over, thoughts turn to flip flops, sun tan lotion and a cold beer on a far-off beach, but for one West Ham player he just doesn't want the campaign to end, writes DAVE EVANS.

Junior Stanislas signed off the season with his second goal in claret and blue, as well as an award for the youngster who has made the most impact this season, and the 19-year-old just wanted the football to go on through the summer.

"It's disappointing for me that it is all coming to an end because I've been involved and been doing all right, although some of my starts are down to injuries to certain other players," he said.

That is partly true. Certainly, Jack Collison's knee injury allowed the south Londoner an extended run in the starting line-up, but he also found himself ahead of others who might have expected to be in front of him in the pecking order.


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Stanislas came on as a substitute against West Brom at Upton Park for his debut, replacing expensive disappointment Savio, and the young German has hardly had a look-in since.

Nine appearances and two goals show that Stanislas has a big future at the club, and though some of his performances have shown that he still has a lot to learn, few could have predicted that he would have done so well.

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"I've just got to keep pushing on myself and just keep pushing to keep my place in the team," said the ambitious youngster. "I'll keep working hard over the summer and come back trying to find my feet more, get more confident, get better and then keep playing next season."

It is surely no coincidence that the likes of Stanislas, Jack Collison and James Tomkins have improved so much this season. Manager Gianfranco Zola seems to have given them a huge amount of confidence to play their natural game.

Stanislas certainly knows the contribution his boss has made: "It has been good for me because the manager just let's you go out and play your football," explained the West Ham Academy boy.

"He doesn't put any pressure on you. He just says 'Go out, enjoy the day and make sure you come in with a win'!"

That sort of confidence allows players like Stanislas to take pot shots, as in the two he tried against Middlesbrough. His first deflected off Robert Huth and cannoned against the post, while his second effort skidded across the grass and through the hands of keeper Brad Jones before hitting the net.

"Unfortunately for him he's let it go, but it is fortunate for me that it's gone in," explained Stanislas with a grin, a smile that was just as wide when he picked up the Doris Bell trophy after the game, as the youngster who has improved the most during this season.

"Obviously, getting an award is nice, but what's more important is to end the season with a win so the players can go away on a bit of a high. Overall it's a good day."

If he continues to improve at this rate, then there could be many more good days for the youngster, but for the moment he just wants to work hard and improve his game.

"My goal for next season is just to cement my spot in the team and grow as a player and just get better," he revealed.

"I can definitely make more of an impact next year. I've played nine games this season and hopefully if I do well and have a good pre-season I can push on next year."

The second season is often the hardest for young players, but with the help of Zola, there is no reason why Stanislas cannot go from strength to strength next season.

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