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Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Friday, July 13, 2012
For those West Ham fans who remember Steve Potts in his heyday, it must be a frightening reminder of their advancing age that his son Dan is now part of the Hammers first team squad.
Last season was a breakthrough campaign for Potts jnr. The Gidea Park youngster signed his first professional contract, made four appearances for the first team and at the end of the promotion-winning campaign, collected the Young Hammer of the Year award.
“I’ve been part of the first-team squad for seven or eight months now,” said Potts after Tuesday night’s 1-1 friendly draw at Boreham Wood.
“Without a doubt I feel part of the squad. Working with the players on and off the pitch, you can’t beat it in terms of my game improving and the experience I am gaining.
“I played 90 minutes in Austria, another 45 against Boreham Wood and I certainly feel that every season I play I want to go further. We have stepped up from the Championship to the Premiership, so it is another big step forward for me hopefully.”
Potts made an outstanding debut against Barnsley last December in a 1-0 win, and though he had ups and downs in his other games – especially the trip to Derby County – he has shown that he has the ability to succeed at the top level.
One man who has helped him along the way is current left back George McCartney, who has returned to Upton Park on a permanent deal after spending last season on loan.
It is a move that delights the young Potts. “He is a great role model for someone like me,” he said.
“He has been doing it for years at left back and he is a very consistent performer and that is the main reason he got the players’ player of the year award last season.
“He speaks to me about my game, but if anything I’ve got to go and speak to him because I am the one learning. Some people might say that him coming back permanently is competition for me, but I don’t see it like that, he is someone to look up to.”
After dipping his toe into the Championship waters, Potts is now hoping that he will get a chance to show what he can do in the Premier League.
“I don’t want to set myself too high a goal, too early,” he said. “But I still feel as though I have got a part to play in the squad and I want to be playing football in the Premier League.
“It’s always been a dream for me, but now I have that opportunity and with a little bit of luck, you never know. When the chance comes I am definitely ready to take it.”
It looks like Dan is a chip off the old block and if he can achieve even half of what his father did, then he will be an exceptional player for the Hammers.