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Steve Lomas believes Callum Marshall’s prospects at West Ham will be boosted by Irish League experience

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Hammer time: Former Linfield ace Callum Marshall has already made a bright start at West Ham. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Hammer time: Former Linfield ace Callum Marshall has already made a bright start at West Ham. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

©INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilto

Good luck: Steve Lomas hopes Callum Marshall can deliver at West Ham. Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Good luck: Steve Lomas hopes Callum Marshall can deliver at West Ham. Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Hammer time: Former Linfield ace Callum Marshall has already made a bright start at West Ham. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Former West Ham captain and Northern Ireland midfielder Steve Lomas as backed Callum Marshall to make a big impact at the Hammers.

Lomas, who played for Coleraine before joining Manchester City in 1991, says the teenager’s move from Linfield to David Moyes’ high flying Premier League side is another tribute to the standard of youth development in Northern Ireland.

The 17-year-old scored on his debut for West Ham’s Under-18 side and he’s living the dream in London after making impressive progress at the Blues.

West Ham Academy Manager Ricky Martin is confident Marshall will showcase his talent after joining on a full-time Scholarship deal, leading to a professional contract.

And Lomas, who won 45 caps for his country before going on to manage St Johnstone and Millwall, expects the former BRA student to make the most of his football education at Chadwell Heath.

“Callum looks a decent prospect and he’s made great progress at Linfield. It’s great for the league to see these lads improve and get a move,” says Lomas.

“It shows you that there is a different route across for players.

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“I played about 16 games for Coleraine before I went across and it helped my physical development.

"Lads would struggle with the physicality in England but Callum and Trai (Hume), who has gone to Sunderland, look good players.

“The Irish League is getting better and becoming more professional. There’s more European money available which helps clubs and scouts are looking at the league more.

“In recent years, Stuarty Dallas has shown the talent coming through here.”

Lomas is confident Marshall’s game time at Linfield has left him well placed to thrive in the claret and blue.

“He’s got a taste of the first team, training with the lads and when the boys go out on loan, they get used to the competitiveness and rough and tumble of the game,” he adds.

“Some of the lads can struggle when they play men’s football.

"In some of the Academy matches in England and Under-21 games, there’s barely a glove laid, it’s like a testimonial and fairly expansive game so boys need to go on loan to get used to the physicality. I think the Irish League lads have been introduced to that physical demands and can find it easier to progress.

“The Irish League isn’t the most technical league but it’s a good grounding for young players.”

Lomas captained the east London side during an eight-year spell at the club and also lifted the Intertoto Cup in 1999.

He went onto make over 400 first-team appearances over a 17-year period in his career and in early 2011 he joined West Ham as reserve team boss before joining Scottish side St Johnstone as manager.

“I know Ricky Martin, I worked with him at Norwich and he’s a good lad who knows his stuff,” adds the 47-year-old. “Callum will be getting good coaching and hopefully he can challenge to get into the first team in the next few years.”


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