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Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
West Ham striker Robert Hall has impressed in the last two games, now he is looking to follow that up
There were a few surprised faces at Upton Park on Saturday when it was Rob Hall and not Modibo Maiga who was called off the bench for the last 12 minutes against Fulham.
One of them was Rob Hall himself as he explained:
“When I saw the goals flying in during the first half, I thought actually I might well be able to get on here,” said the 18-year-old striker.
“But then we had a couple of injuries, I saw James Collins get a knock and then Andy had to come off as well.
“I thought, maybe not today, but then I saw Guy Demel get a knock and the boss was brave enough to put me on and I just had to try and take my opportunity.”
He certainly did that and it stems from his substitute appearance last Tuesday against Crewe Alexandra in the Capital One Cup, where he lit up the last 25 minutes and almost grabbed his first senior goal for the club he has been a part of since the age of seven.
“The boss and Neil McDonald are very experienced so they know how to treat young players,” said Hall.
“After Tuesday’s game they just told me to keep going because the hard work starts now.
“It is hard getting your foot in the door, but once you have, maybe that is when you start needing to work harder and harder.”
It is a philosophy that has been programmed into West Ham’s youngsters by Academy director Tony Carr and it is one that is set to reap dividends again as Hall put in a fearless display in both Hammers games in the last week.
There are a lot of young players who are good, but it is the mental side of things that is vital.
“I was in a very good team when I was younger. Even in the reserves a lot of us have been here since we were seven, so we have helped each other along the way,” he said.
“It is hard to adjust when you are the best in your school and then you move on and you are equal to everyone else. You have to adapt and work harder, but you can only keep learning along the way.”
It is that work ethic that is bearing fruit for the England under-18 international.
The day after the Crewe game he was back on the training pitch trying to impress and it seems to have done the trick.
“Friday was hectic because I didn’t know whether I would make the bench, I knew I was in the squad, but with players coming in I was quite nervous,” said Hall.
“Luckily the manager was brave enough to keep me in and now I have made my Premier League debut I am over the moon.”
So what next for the youngster? That first goal would be nice.
“On Tuesday I had two chances and I should definitely have hit the target with at least one of them,” said the youngster.
“Against Fulham my shot got blocked, but I just have to keep on shooting and try not to get nervous out there.
“Whatever the manager says goes, so hopefully I can keep working hard on the training pitch and try and keep in his plans.”
With displays like the last two, that looks increasingly likely.