‘Best night of my career’: West Ham Under 18s boss Kevin Keen expresses his pride after watching his side thrash Arsenal to win the FA Youth Cup… as he hopes his players can go on to have ‘fantastic careers’ with the first-team
- West Ham lifted the FA Youth Cup for the first time in 24 years on Tuesday night
- The Hammers thrashed Arsenal 5-1 thanks to a first-half turnaround
- Their manager Kevin Keen described the victory as the ‘best night’ of his career
West Ham Under 18s manager Kevin Keen has spoken of his pride after watching his side thrash Arsenal to win the FA Youth Cup.
Goals from George Earthy, Callum Marshall, Gideon Kodua, Kaelan Casey and Josh Briggs sealed a 5-1 win for the Hammers at the Emirates Stadium, despite going 1-0 down via Omari Benjamin’s early goal for the Gunners.
It was the first time that the Hammers have won the competition since 1999 with a team which included Joe Cole and Michael Carrick.
Speaking after triumph, Kevin told West Ham’s official website: ‘I am so proud of them. I’d take this group over any group and I said it to them before the game. They work so hard.
‘From the first day of pre-season, this group has been on it. It’s not just the talent it’s the working hard too. It’s the togetherness. Everything about this group. There is a lot of humility as well, which goes a long way. I’m really hopeful for all of them and they’re all just great kids.
Kevin Keen described West Ham’s FA Youth Cup success as the ‘best night’ in his life
Gideon Kodua (left) was one of the scorers as West Ham thrashed Arsenal 5-1 on Tuesday
‘And to get 7,000 (West Ham fans) out there and to sing like that and be as passionate for Academy football: ‘Wow.’ It was one of the best nights of my life and I’m sure it’s one of the best nights of our young players’ lives.’
The victory will raise hope among West Ham fans that some of the players involved will go on to make a big impact for the first-team in the years to come.
Keen said: ‘They are a fantastic group that wants to do well for this football club.
‘And hopefully like the Youth Cup winners from years gone by, we’ll have some of them get into our first team and have fantastic careers.’
Arsenal, coached by Gunners legend Jack Wilshere had taken the early lead through Benjamin.
Their lead did not last long though as they collapsed with Earthy’s brilliant long range equaliser followed by a Marshall tap-in.
Kodua then lobbed the ball over the Arsenal keeper after a mistake from Josh Robinson, before goals from Casey and Briggs sealed the victory in front of 34,124 fans at the Emirates.
Keen (right) now hopes that some of his youngsters will have ‘fantastic careers’ in the first team
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