Stephen Hendrie, who joined West Ham United from Hamilton earlier this summer, has discussed his excitement ahead of the Hammers’ Europa League opener against FC Lusitanos.
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Despite a bottom-half finish in the Premier League, the Irons secured a spot in continental competition after finishing top of the fair-play charts.
They begin their campaign in the first qualifying round, and will host FC Lusitanos of Andorra at Upton Park on Thursday evening in the first leg [Sky Sports].
The match represents the club’s first foray into Europe for the East London side, while it also represents the start of Slaven Bilic’s tenure as manager of the club.
Thursday’s clash may also mean a debut for 20-year-old Hendrie, who signed a pre-contract with the Hammers in January, before moving on July 1st.
“When I signed my contract I was eager to come down and meet the new boys and manager. It has been great,” the new boy began, speaking to the Evening Times.
“I know Slaven is a great manager and taking Croatia to the quarter-finals of the Euros shows the qualities he has.”
Hendrie expressed his delight at joining such a major side, while also outlining both his expectations for his maiden season with the Irons and what the club’s fans can expect from him.
“It is brilliant for me to join West Ham when we are playing in Europe and it will be great for the players to express themselves in the Europa League,” he continued.
“I like to get forward and whip in crosses, but also be solid at the back. There is great competition for places and Aaron Cresswell obviously won the Hammer of the Year last season, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”
The Hammers look to be in the midst of a busy summer of transfer activity. Beyond Hendrie, they have also signed France international playmaker Dimitri Payet from Olympique de Marseille, for £10.7 million [Daily Mail].