East London-born Sean Adarkwa has officially signed his first professional contract with West Ham United.
Adarkwa was rewarded for the hard work he put out during a breakthrough 2018/19 season with an effective one-year deal.
The 18-year-old forced his way into the Hammers’ U23 side while still a second-year scholar, making ten Premier League 2 appearances and scoring in victories over Swansea City and Manchester City.
The powerful striker, who has been working closely with Academy of Football coach, mentor and former West Ham and England forward Carlton Cole, is looking to take his game to the next level next term.
"I’ve been playing football for a lot of years, starting at the age of six, so it feels good to finally sign on as a professional footballer
“I’m very pleased,” confirmed Adarkwa, who joined the Irons at the age of eleven after being scouted while playing for the Barking and Dagenham district side – the same team which produced the likes of Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Steve Potts, and Paul Konchesky.
“I’ve been playing football for a lot of years, starting at the age of six, so it feels good to finally sign on as a professional footballer.
“I am grateful that the Club believes in me and I feel I am ready to push on.
“I’ve watched West Ham since I was young and most of my friends support the Club, so this is great for me and for them!”
The Dylan Tombides Award nominee is a physical centre forward to is able to hold the ball up and bring his teammates into play, is strong in the air and also has an eye for goal – similar to his mentor Cole.
And the teenager, who like Cole has West African ancestry, is enjoying working with someone who scored nearly 70 goals in Claret and Blue.
“It’s really good working with Carlton as he has played at the highest level and he gives me really good tips on things to work on and he’s improved my game,” he confirmed.
“We work on the football side a lot and, in general, there are a lot of down to earth people at the Academy who are just good characters, so there is always a friendly vibe so it’s not hard to interact and learn new things to add to your game.
“Looking ahead to next season, I want to be more aggressive on the pitch, play regularly for the Under-23s and score more goals.”
Having trained with the first-team squad and seen the likes of Declan Rice and Grady Diangana make the grade in recent months, Adarkwa wants to force his own way into Manuel Pellegrini’s thoughts next season.
“Seeing them come through really inspired me and there is a friendly vibe training with the first team, so I didn’t feel any pressure when I was with them,” he revealed.
“I’d like to thank my mother Hannah, my brother Eugene, Tony Appiah and my coaches, especially Carlton, Jack Collison and Mark Phillips with the Under-18s, and Terry Westley, Liam Manning and Steve Potts for giving me opportunities.
“If I keep working hard, hopefully, I’ll get my chance.”
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