West Ham United youngster Grady Diangana has been with the Hammers since the age of 12, being labelled a ‘wonderkid’ at a young age. Soon to turn 19, the youngster has some pressure on his shoulders.
Growing up in South East London Diangana shot through the ranks at West Ham’s academy. After being converted into an attacking midfielder he began playing above his age group, playing at the U23 level while still an 18-year-old.
“It was a big step at the time, but the manager saw the effect I was having with the U18s and trusted me to continue that good form”.
The forward became a regular selection for the U23s in the 2015-16 season. He scored his first goal for the development squad on February 10th against Swansea City. He went on to make eight appearances in the league and picked up a winners’ medal as the side secured the League Cup in that same season beating Hull City over two legs.
After a successful season on an individual and team level, injury woes lead to an unconvincing second season with the U23s in the 2016-17 campaign. Diangana started most games at the start of the season until an injury kept him out of action for most of November. He only scored his first goal of the season in February in a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn.
“This season has been my worst in terms of injuries but the positive I can take is that it has made me realise that I need to take care of my body better when I’m away from football”.
The young Hammers will play their last home game of the regular season at the London Stadium home to West Ham’s first team. The U23s have already played twice there, with Diangana enjoying the experience.
“Playing in the new stadium was a great experience even though it doesn’t feel the same as when its full, its nonetheless an amazing experience. The facilities including the changing rooms, the hot and cold plunge pools are top notch. The pitch is an amazing playing surface”.
A play-off position is almost secured for Terry Westley’s side with only two games remaining in regular season, with the hammers three points safe of sixth-placed Aston Villa.
“As a team we will be pushing for promotion as we lost out on the cup. It will make the season worth it and set the team up for another great test next season, I only hope I will be back from injury in time to help the team”.
With many of his teammates heading off on loan spells throughout the season, it’s interesting to know whether Diangana sees his future away from east London.
“I do see myself going on loan. But I want my future to be at West Ham, I want to stay at the club, I’ve been here for almost seven years and I want prove myself. The main goal is to break into the first team”.