PUBLISHED: 15:25 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 05 October 2010
By JONATHAN CLEGG FREDDIE Sears has been tipped to spearhead a new generation of West Ham academy graduates after his match-winning debut against Blackburn. Hot-shot Sears served notice of his star potential by scoring the winner within six minutes of ap
By JONATHAN CLEGG
FREDDIE Sears has been tipped to spearhead a new generation of West Ham academy graduates after his match-winning debut against Blackburn.
Hot-shot Sears served notice of his star potential by scoring the winner within six minutes of appearing as a substitute on Saturday.
With Upton Park legends Trevor Brooking, Geoff Hurst and Billy Bonds in attendance, the 18-year-old added a new chapter to the club's storied history of nurturing young talent.
Fellow academy product Mark Noble is convinced Sears can go on to establish himself as a first-team regular and lead a new wave of promising youngsters.
"I'm just so pleased for Freddie because he's been grafting away and training with us and he deserves it," he said. "He will be a great asset for the club.
"He's been scoring goals in the youth team and reserves and I know how he's feeling at the moment.
"It's a great feeling and the most important thing is he enjoys it, keeps working hard and scores many more for us.
"This time last year, I got my chance and grabbed it, and I am hoping he can do that. James Tomkins was on the bench and he's a great player and Jack Collison has come on and is training with us everyday. The future is bright."
Noble has first-hand experience of the difficulty in making the step up from youth and reserve matches to the Premier League.
The England Under-21 international made his Hammers bow at 17, but was forced to wait a
further three years for an extended run in the side.
Yet he believes the current crop of youngsters are capable of reaching the top.
"With Freddie, James, Jack and Kyel Reid, we've got four or five young players coming through and they look ready in training," he said.
"It's all down to the academy. They teach you how to play properly."
Anton Ferdinand, who also made the transition from academy to first-team, echoed Noble's comments but warned not to heap too much pressure on the club's young players.
"I know what it's like to be at this club and come through the ranks," Ferdinand said. "With the amount of players that have come through here, there is a lot of pressure on the young boys to be that much better than they might be.
"We are all still young and there's a lot of hard work ahead of us all.