West Ham have signed teenage defender Jack Lampe on a one-year deal from non-league outfit Harlow Town following a successful trial.
As manager Gianfranco Zola looks to bolster his senior ranks, with goalkeeper Kelvin Davis close to a move from Southampton, the move for the 17-year-old shows the east London club remain committed to developing young potential - with Academy graduates Matt Fry, Tony Brookes, Oliver Lee, Daniel Kearns and Anthony Edgar all having signed professional terms this summer.
Cheshunt-born Lampe is the grandson of former Fulham defender Derek, who played in the old First Division for the Cottagers during the 1950s and 1960s.
Lampe, 6ft 2in, is hoping to make his mark at Upton Park.
"Joining West Ham is massive for me. It is just a dream come true," he told his club's official website www.whufc.com. "I can't wait to start working at West Ham now."
Hammers striker Carlton Cole, 25, knows full well the importance of a good grounding - having come up through the youth ranks at Chelsea.
The England forward, who netted 12 goals last season, is glad to see youngsters at West Ham pushing for a first-team place.
"We have got a lot of youth players coming through," he said. "James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears all broke through last year.
"So you have got good, young players trying to break through to the first team which will push the players that are already there and established to kick on more - or else the kids are going to take their places."
West Ham head to China for the Barclays Asia Trophy as part of their pre-season warm-up.
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