West Ham's Norwegian youngster is loving life at West Ham
PUBLISHED: 12:50 16 October 2015
The Hammers 18-year-old Martin Samuelsen has already played in front of 30,000 fans
When youngsters arrive at a big club like West Ham, they often slip in under the radar and wait for the chance to show what they can do.
Not 18-year-old Norwegian Martin Samuelsen. The former Manchester City Academy boy arrived in the summer and in July found himself playing in front of 30,000 fans at Upton Park in the Hammers’ Europa League clash with Maltese side Birkirkara.
“The stadium was more or less full,” he recalled. “It was great to get that experience so early in my time here. It was great for future motivation and I enjoyed every second of it.
“When I signed, I didn’t expect that, but I started training with the first team in Ireland, did well, and it went on from there.”
Samuelsen speaks fluent English and is mature for his 18 years, but that is hardly surprising after he left home for Manchester at the age of just 15.
It is a tough ask for any teenager to leave their own country, but it seems to have worked well for the player, who now lives on his own in Canary Wharf.
“It was difficult leaving behind my friends and family, but I think I adapted quickly,” he said. “I moved over with my Dad for the first six months and then my brother came over, but they all moved back after two years.”
The youngsters spent three and a half years at City, but he insists that moving south to join West Ham was not something he had to think long about.
“It was quite an easy decision to leave Man City,” said Samuelsen. “I know what is best for me and I knew I needed a change and I haven’t regretted it since.
“Last year in the under-18 squad that I was a part of, we had 25 players from all over the world, so it was difficult. At West Ham they give more attention to each player and their needs which is important for our development.
“I am only 18, so development is the main thing for me.”
Talking of development, you can get a chance to see the baby-faced Norwegian attacking midfielder in action over the next two Mondays as the under-21 team take on Wolves at Rush Green this coming Monday, before Fulham come to Upton Park the following week. Both games have free entry for spectators.
The Development team has failed to win a single game this season, though they did grab a 2-2 draw with Newcastle in front of over 2,000 fans at the Boleyn Ground a couple of weeks ago.
Samuelsen insists there is lots more to come though.
“We haven’t won, but we have outplayed all our opponents except Arsenal, when we lost 5-0, though I didn’t play in that one,” he said.
“Against all the others we have created lots of chances to win, but we haven’t been able to score enough and we have conceded too many easy goals.”
It seems that the youngsters is getting the best development he can. He trains with the first team almost every day and he is clearly learning fast if his free kick goal for the Norwegian under-19s last week is anything to go by.
“There are a small group of players who practice free kicks after training,” he revealed. “So there is me, Zarate, Payet, Lanzini and ‘Ginge’ sometimes as well.
“I like to study them and see what they are doing as well. It worked here and hopefully there is more to come.”
Samuelsen has already experienced the big time with West Ham in European competition. So what are his ambitions for the rest of the campaign?
“I would love to get a few more games this season,” he said. “But if it doesn’t come I won’t be disappointed.
“I know I am on the right track. I am doing well in training and it is just a matter of being patient.”
A young player with a mature head on his shoulders. Surely we can expect big things from this Norwegian.