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Junior can make step up to senior side

PUBLISHED: 10:18 19 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:12 05 October 2010

Junior Stanislas is confident he can become the latest Hammers academy ace to emerge as a Premier League star after making his first-team debut against West Brom

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Junior Stanislas is confident he can become the latest Hammers academy ace to emerge as a Premier League star after making his first-team debut against West Brom on Monday night.

Stanislas made his senior bow as a second-half substitute at Upton Park and illuminated a dire team display with flashes of individual promise in the goalless draw with the Baggies.

The England Under-19 international, who replaced £10m teenager Savio Nsereko in the 68th minute, almost set up a breakthrough goal for David Di Michele with a curling cross late on.

Now the 19-year-old hopes to emulate fellow academy graduates James Tomkins, Freddie Sears and Jack Collison by cracking the starting line-up and establishing himself as a regular in the senior side.

He said: "It was great to get out there and play in the Premier League - after working hard for all those years, it's good to finally experience it and show what I can do.

"Now the target is playing regularly. When [other young players] have got their chance, they've taken it. I got a chance tonight and hopefully I did enough to get another chance and I can keep taking my chances when they come."

Stanlislas has emerged as one of West Ham's most promising talents since joining the club as an 11-year-old and underlined his potential with a successful loan spell at Southend this season.

The midfielder scored three goals in nine appearances for the League One outfit, playing the full 90 minutes in both FA Cup third-round matches against Chelsea in January.

Yet despite playing in front of a capacity crowd at Stamford Bridge two months ago, Stanislas admits that nothing could prepare him for the feeling of making his first-team debut at the Boleyn Ground.

"Obviously [the matches against Chelsea] helped because I've got a bit of experience of playing against those sorts of players, but I was still nervous - when you're playing for the team you grew up with, it's a bit more special.

"I wasn't sure I would get on, but I was really glad when the manager said I was going on.

"In the Premier League, it's a lot quicker, the players on the pitch are better and stronger as well, but the reaction from the crowd was great - it lifts you up and gets you buzzing.

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