Nathan Trott and his West Ham United Under 21 teammates will head to Switzerland on Thursday to compete in the Blue Stars FIFA Youth Cup in Zurich.
The Hammers will head there hoping to go one better this season after finishing as last year’s runners-up, having lost in the final to Grasshopper Club.
The tournament will be attended by a number of top clubs from across Europe, including the likes of Lyon, Benfica, Anderlecht and Mainz.
And the West Ham outfit, who will be managed by Academy Director Terry Westley, will include a number of the Academy of Football’s top talents, such as Declan Rice – who made his first team debut against Burnley on Sunday – and Domingos Quina.
Westley bossed the U23s this campaign, who achieved promotion from Premier League 2 Division 1 after a thrilling Play-Off Final win against Newcastle United last week, and the manager believes the trip to Zurich will be a great way to end a successful season.
“The Blue Star Swiss tournament is a top tournament including some big clubs from across Europe, so it’s definitely a good way to cap off the season,” he said.
“It’s live on Eurosport, and it’s one of the biggest European competitions out there. It’s an U21 competition and we will take one of the strongest sides we can.
“There will be omissions for those such as Martin Samuelsen, who will be away on international duty, and Dan Kemp who is in the England U20 group, but we’ll take as strong a group as we can.
“Our team will include Quina, Rice and Trott, so we’ll have a good team and it’s a good way to end. We will pit our wits against some top clubs and it will prepare us very well for next season.
“Steve Potts and Mark Phillips, the U18 managers, did really well last year because they took a younger team and to finish as runners-up, it shows the quality of our younger ones.
“This year, with them already having that experience from last year, we are hoping to do well.”
The Hammers will kick-off their campaign with a fixture against the hosts – FC Blue Star – on Thursday before taking on Lyon later that afternoon.
The following day, a re-run of last year’s final will be played before Santa Fe take on the Hammers in their final group match.
The format of the tournament sees each team play four group matches of 40 minutes each, before then facing the side who finished in the same position in the other group league table. As a result, the winners of each group will face off for the trophy on Friday at 4:40pm local time.