West Ham United youngster Ashby wants more first-team action

West Ham United's Harrison Ashby in pre-season friendly action at Ipswich

West Ham United's Harrison Ashby in pre-season friendly action at Ipswich - Credit: PA

West Ham United youngster Harrison Ashby is hoping to force his way into the first-team squad in 2022-23, having enjoyed some pre-season action.

The 20-year-old travelled to the team's training camps in Scotland and France and started the friendly matches against Servette and Ipswich Town, while also coming off the bench at Reading and Luton Town.

And the Scotland U21 international would love the chance to show fellow countryman David Moyes he can fill the gap in defence caused by the departure of Ryan Fredericks earlier this summer.

“It’s a huge privilege that they’ve given me the opportunity to train with them, and it’s even better to start games and play alongside them,” Ashby told whufc.com. 

“Last year I suffered an injury and worked really hard to try to push back into the first-team squad, which is where I was before.

“I think I’ve done well, and I’m really glad that I’ve been able to push hard to get myself in and around the first team again. I’ve really enjoyed it and lets just see where it goes from here.

“Training and playing with the first team just allows your game to get better and better because you’re around elite players. With them you get stronger, you get fitter and I think that has helped me massively as a player.

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“It’s a lot different to U21s football. The speed of play, the level of physicality, the speed of decision making, I think they are the main changes. It’s been a fantastic challenge for me, and I’ll look to take my opportunity when it comes.

“The aim for the next season is to push myself into the first team and battle it out with the right-backs that are currently ahead of me. I want to push myself on, push them on, and have a good battle to win the spot in the team.”

Ashby started in the Europa League group game against Dinamo Zagreb last season, made his Premier League debut as a substitute against Arsenal and played in the EFL Cup against Tottenham.

He scored three goals and contributed six assists for the development squad in their Premier League 2 and EFL Trophy campaigns and appeared for Mark Robson's side in a 3-0 loss to Stevenage last Friday.

He added: "It's just one of them games we have to learn from. We were up against a tough League Two team, all really fit with their league campaign starting very soon and they're all obviously proper men.

"THere were a few players in our side that hadn't had the experience against this type of opposition, so I think it was a good test for us but also a reality check.

"It was a great physical test for everyone and we all put in the effort, we just didn't quite have the quality."