West Ham’s academy is notoriously one of the most successful in the Premier League. Having produced such talents in the past as Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard, the East London youth set up now boasts names such as Zavon Hines, Junior Stanislas and Jack Collison, all of whom look destined for great things. There are also several other young promising stars at Upton Park of whom less in known about. One of these young stars is Terry Dixon.
Dixon is only 19 years old yet has already experienced some of the highs and lows that come with being a professional footballer. He is predominantly a striker whose attributes lie in his strength and hard work. He is able to battle with defenders and is a good striker of the ball with an eye for goal.
Dixon began his career at Tottenham Hotspur at the age of eight after he was spotted by ex-Spurs player Gary Brooke and preceded to progress his way through the youth ranks at White Hart Lane. In the 2005-06 season, Dixon played 11 games in the Under 18 side despite being just 16 himself, his potential and ability clearly outweighed the age gap that is so significant to many youngsters at that age. He signed his first professional contract with Spurs in the summer of 2006 however he was released by the north London club in March 2008 after a reoccurring knee injury had kept him on the sidelines for an extended time.
Still full of potential, Dixon was out to convince any interested suitors that he was match fit and his knee problem was behind him. He eventually persuaded West Ham to give him a chance and has not looked back since. He signed for the Hammers in February of this year and was visibly delighted at the prospect of playing for the club, stating:
“I’m so relieved to be back to fitness as it’s just so annoying to have those niggles because you have been out for so long. My aims for this season are to get matches under my belt for the reserves and if I do well there, hopefully I can get into the first-team squad. I want to repay the faith the club have shown in me, if not this season then the season after.”
Dixon has since made several appearances for the West Ham reserve side and completed his first 90 minutes in late November in a 5-2 victory over Stoke City in which he was instrumental, scoring one and setting up two. Just this week Dixon found the net again, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Grays Athletic. The youngster is now getting some games under his belt and it is encouraging to see him moving past his knee injury and with the current situation in Gianfranco’s first team squad, we may be seeing him in a Premier League fixture soon.
Dixon also has a future with his national side, the Republic of Ireland. The youngster has already made appearances at Under 16 and 17 levels, impressing those that watched him. He was set to become the youngest ever player to play for the county in May 2006 when manager Steve Staunton handed him a call up, however unfortunately he had to pull out due to injury but I am sure Ireland will see much more of him in the future.