Tony Carr: West Ham youngsters need to look up to Rio Ferdinand

West Ham Upton Park

West Ham United managed to develop Rio Ferdinand in their renowned youth academy.

West Ham United's former academy director Tony Carr has told the club's official website that Rio Ferdinand is a perfect role model for every youngster breaking through at the Boleyn Ground.

Ferdinand came through West Ham's youth system before going on to represent the likes of Leeds United, Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers in a glittering career at the top level which also included 81 appearances for England.

He is one of the most high-profile players to have been brought through by the Hammers, and Carr says that he is still held in high regard now.

"Having come through the West Ham United academy he has long been a superb example to the young talented players we’ve got coming through," he said. "Not only for our young defenders but for everyone dreaming of making their way in football because of the way he approached the game. He is a model example.

"We ask all out young players ‘Are you as good as Rio Ferdinand was when he was your age?’ because that is the level of player we want to produce. If the answer is no, then we need to look at what areas need to be strengthened and make those improvements."

Ferdinand actually mentioned Carr by name in his retirement statement, as he had such a big influence on his career.

The Hammers academy is still held in high regard, too, and they will be aiming to continue producing players of Ferdinand's ability in the future.

West Ham have not been able to develop a truly world-class performer in their academy in some time, but there is a lot of excitement about the current generation.

18-year-old Reece Burke has recently been brought into the Hammers' first-team, and the hope is that he can have a similar career to Ferdinand.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch