Odubeko in action for Ireland's U17s against Finland in March. Tommy Dickson/INPHO

West Ham win race to sign Ireland U17 striker who scored 35 goals for Man United last season

The Hammers have completed a move for highly-rated forward Ademipo Odubeko.

WEST HAM HAVE completed the signing of highly-rated Irish teenager Ademipo Odubeko from Manchester United.

The striker — who turned 17 on Monday — spent his schoolboy years with Man United, where he scored 35 goals last season and netted on his U18 Premier League debut.

Odubeko has been capped at U17 level for Ireland and will now continue his development with the Hammers at their Academy of Football in London.

“It’s a really exciting day,” Odubeko said. “I’ve been waiting for this move for a while, so I’m looking forward to getting started.

“West Ham is a club with a lot of history behind it. It promotes its young players, so it’s a great opportunity for me to develop my game and help the team.

“I’m looking forward to moving to London – it’ll be a little different to Manchester, so it’s an exciting challenge.”

Odubeko won the Victory Shield with Ireland at U16 level. He will now line out with West Ham’s U18 squad for the remainder of this season, with the Londoners currently bottom of Division 1 after five games.

Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 13.59.31 The teenage striker will line out for West Ham's U18s. West Ham United Twitter West Ham United Twitter

“I’m a goalscorer, I’m quick, and I work hard for my team,” he said. “I always set high expectations for myself, so I’m looking to score a lot of goals for West Ham this season.

“I’ve been out for a while now, so now I’m just excited to get going – and get scoring.”

The 17-year-old turned down a new contract offer with Man United over the summer in the hope of getting first-team football elsewhere in the near future.

A number of Europe’s top clubs like Bayern Munich, Juventus and Feyenoord were reportedly vying for his signature. West Ham Academy Manager Ricky Martin said his club had secured an extremely talented prospect.

“Mipo signing for West Ham is another really positive story for the Academy,” he said. “He is a promising player we are looking forward to working with and this move is a great opportunity for him to join us and continue his journey.

“It will naturally take Mipo some time to settle in, but we believe West Ham is the perfect environment for Mipo to flourish and fulfil his undoubted potential.

“We’re really trying to work hard here at the club to push players on at the right time and give them the right opportunities.

“He’ll start with the Under-18s and will enjoy opportunities to work, develop his own game, and act as a focal point in attack for different age groups, including the Under-23s.

“I’m sure Mipo will want to make a big impact by scoring goals, so we’re really looking forward to seeing him working with two teams who’ve started the season really well.”

On the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, Andy Dunne tells Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey about where it all went wrong for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland

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