Gianfranco Zola is determined that his West Ham side will maintain a strong emphasis on youth.

Midfielder Mark Noble, an England Under-21 international, is one first-team regular to have come up through the youth ranks, along with squad men Freddie Sears, Jack Collison and James Tomkins.

Zola - who worked with the Italy Under-21s before taking up his post at Upton Park - is determined for that conveyor belt to continue and said: "I believe every club should have a strong youth foundation, and that was one of my main aspirations when I came here."

He added: "I believe very strongly there should always be the possibility of allowing young players to come through to the first team.

"I know there are some good young players here and that the academy has produced many top players over the years.

"It is one of my dreams to give our young players the chance to play in our first team and become wonderful players for this club.

"It is part of the project I have taken on here as manager."

West Ham impressed in Zola's first match, when they played some entertaining football to please the demanding Upton Park faithful in a 3-1 win over Newcastle.

However, the former Chelsea midfielder is ready to mix things up when needed.

"Obviously we want to play good football, to entertain the fans, but to get the victory at the same time," he said. "However, sometimes that does not always go hand in hand - you have to, at times, try to just get the victory."

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Topics:
Internationals
Freddie Sears
Football
Chelsea
James Tomkins
Mark Noble
Freddie Sears
Gianfranco Zola
Jack Collison