June 18 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham correspondent
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Last Tuesday night, youngster Dan Potts was playing for Colchester United at Crawley Town and failing to prevent his team from crashing to a 3-0 defeat – the fifth straight loss since he arrived on loan.
On Saturday he was back in the West Ham starting line-up, rubbing shoulders with giants Manchester United and not for a moment did he look out of place.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the words of his manager and his captain after the 2-2 FA Cup third round draw at Upton Park.
“Danny Potts is called back from Colchester because of our problems at left back and plays a fantastic game for us,” said Sam Allardyce.
“It is fantastic to see at his young age of 18. To be able to put in a performance like that should give him great confidence and he shouldn’t need to go back out on loan.”
So what about Kevin Nolan?
“’Pottsy’ has gone out to Colchester and had a bit of a tough time because they were losing every week,” explained Nolan.
“I had a word with him before the game and told him that he belongs here with us and that was just a chance for a bit of experience.
“He was fantastic. He is a lovely lad to be around, he gives you his all and he is someone you can always rely on.”
Potts played his part in a superb West Ham display which could easily have ended in victory. But he didn’t even know he was playing until shortly before the match.
“It was a massive game against a massive team,” said Potts. “I got the call to come back from Colchester, but I didn’t know that I was starting until an hour before the kick-off.
“I saw my name on the list and had to go and get my head in gear to try and deliver against one of the best teams in Europe.”
It was tough for the youngster, especially in the first half when United’s passing threatened to run them ragged, but Potts kept his nerve.
“Against teams like United you can’t afford to be off your game or nervous,” he explained. “You have got to be fully committed and positive and I thought that I was. Everything I tried to do was positive.”
There was even the chance for Potts to get forward and test the United defence and now he can’t wait for another chance.
“It was a great experience and this is where I want to play,” he said. “I took the chance with both hands and wanted to impress and I thought all the lads on the night were terrific.
“You couldn’t fault anyone’s work ethic, we got two good goals and it was just a shame we didn’t win.”
It was certainly a far cry from a Tuesday night in Crawley, but Potts is certainly grateful for Colchester for giving him the chance to play.
“In terms of the results, we had a bad run of form at Colchester, but the main thing was to get some games under my belt,” said Potts.
“At my age, wherever you are playing, you just want first-team football and I was pleased to go there. It was a big step up against United, but it was a great experience.”
It certainly was a big step up, but Potts showed that he has the potential to make it to the top in the not too distant future.