West Ham striker Elliot Lee back in pre-season training already in bid to make first team

Highly rated young West Ham United striker Elliot Lee is back in pre-season training already in a bid to feature for the club's first team next season.

20-year-old Elliot Lee has so far only made two substitute appearances for the Hammers in his fledgling career despite being one of the brightest talents coming through the club's famous Academy in recent years.

A regular scorer at both youth and reserve level, Lee found game time difficult to come by during Sam Allardyce's four-year tenure.

Loan spells at Colchester United and Luton Town saw the burly and pacy striker net his first senior goals either side of an ill-fated loan to Southend United where he sustained a hamstring injury in his first training session.

Even in West Ham's final games of the season, where they had little but pride to play for, Lee was not given his first start for the club and had to be content with just 13 minutes at the end of the final game of the season up at Newcastle United - the team where his dad Rob made his name.

But with Big Sam now departed and a new management team being lined up for the club's final season at the Boleyn Ground, Lee hopes he can finally kickstart his Premier League career.

And he is clearly focused as he has started pre-season training less than two weeks after the season ended in a bid to ensure he is in peak physical condition to impress the Hammers' new manager.

Speaking on social networking site Twitter, Lee said: "Hard work starts again now. Time to get fitter and stronger for next season! Exciting times ahead! #WHUFC."

Lee, whose brother Oliver also used to play for West Ham before being released, recently spoke of his desire to earn a long-term future at the Hammers where his dad played in the twilight of a fine career for club and country.

When asked where he saw his career in three years' time by OffThePostNews, Lee said: "I think from the outside world, people looking into football they don't realise how hard it is to break into a first team especially at Premier League level.

"You have to work hard, it's hard to make the breakthrough mentally and physically.

"Hopefully I will look to break through at West Ham and that's what I want to do, that's where I want to be, playing at the highest level, so hopefully that's where I'll be in the next three years."

If Hammers fans had it their way Lee would already have a fair number of first team appearances under his belt.

The supporters at Upton Park love nothing more than seeing a homegrown Hammer progress from the Academy into the first team.

But despite calls from the terraces for Lee to be given his chance, Big Sam was seemingly reluctant to use the youngster, despite suffering a crippling injury crisis in the striking department on several occasions over the last two years.

One of the claret and blue faithful's major criticisms of Allardyce was that he did not nurture young talent into the first team. And fans often use Lee as an example of how the 60-year-old former Bolton Wanderers manager had failed their famous Academy.

But with Allardyce gone, those same supporters and Lee himself will be hoping that chance comes his way under the new regime.

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