West Ham wonderkid Grady Diangana wants to emulate Ronaldinho

West Ham Upton Park

West Ham youngster Grady Diangana is setting his sights high.

It was not so long ago West Ham were linked with shock moves for one-time Brazilian sensation Ronaldinho, with the Mirror one of many to previously suggest an interest.

Despite that 'interest' failing to get off the ground, the Hammers now have their own academy prospect who believes he can emulate the former Ballon d'Or winner.

Step forward Grady Diangana, who told West Ham's website: "When I was growing up I looked at the best players in the world like Ronaldinho, he was my favourite.

"In my mind I think I'll always have that ambition to be a Ronaldinho, I don't think I'll ever stop dreaming. If I continue the way I want to play, while taking on board what the coaches are saying, I think I'll do OK."

The prospect is highly rated at West Ham, and at only 16 has not problem setting his sights high.

He was praised at the end of the last campaign by under-18s boss Mark Phillips, who said after a win over Fulham: "I thought Grady [Diangana] had an outstanding game. That is the role he prefers to play because we have been trying to play him in a holding role, but we put him as then point of a midfield three and that's what suits him the best.

"When he is enjoying his football, you can see the outcome as he creates a lot of opportunities for us."

Diangana agrees attacking midfield is his best position, adding: "I always thought I was a striker, but then when I came here I didn't score as many goals as I used to.

"So I thought maybe this is not the position for me. So now I'm a centre attacking midfielder. I'm a creative player and I try to create goals, but I also try and do my defensive job for the team."

Diangana's route to the first team still has some stops to make yet. Under-21 experience is essential, and a loan move will be useful in making a step up.

Yet with fan crying out for attractive, winning football, Diangana's progression through the ranks will be a fascinating one to keep an eye on, if he can achieve even half as much as his idol.

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