Remi Coddington has set himself two targets in pre-season: upping his levels and rediscovering his confidence on the pitch.
The 18-year-old is working hard alongside Mark Robson’s U21s in the early weeks of pre-season, linking up with the development side for a few days of intensive training and work on the Peninsula de Troia in Portugal.
The midfielder is making the most of his opportunity with the U21s and, with the side preparing for a first pre-season friendly on Saturday – against Sporting Lisbon ‘B’ – Coddington has relished the work done on the training pitches.
“I’m finding training so great,” The Bermuda international told whufc.com “I love it, to be fair. It’s amazing to be around these older players, and even some of the younger players too, and trying to get up to the levels that they’re setting.
“Ultimately, that’s the level I want to be at, and to be pushing in and around the first team, and working with these guys is getting us on the way to that.
“Working with Mark Robson too, he really knows what he’s talking about. He has such a good knowledge of the game and what it takes for us to get to that level. We’re getting fit, we’re getting ready to play against Sporting Lisbon ‘B’ on Saturday, and everything is going well so far.”
While Troia is renowned for its pristine beaches, clear oceans and golfing resorts, West Ham United U21s’ visit to the peninsula could not have been any further from a holiday.
Early morning rises have been quickly followed by cardio work on the seafront. A morning pitch session is followed by a second pitch session in the early evening and, while the young players are keeping out of the roasting midday sun, work continues in the gym.
“It’s been hard work,” Coddington continued. “I felt tired after a couple of really busy days. We’ve done double pitch sessions, gym work and cardio on the beach as well, but we feel good about it afterwards.
“As soon as you get into it as well, you’re feeling good and you’re wanting to do well. You want to be as fit as possible and play for this badge as well as you possibly can. You want to be the best you can be. We’ve had some really packed days but that’s what we need to get to our best levels in this pre-season.
“I was with the U18s last season and, this pre-season, I’ve been away twice with the U21s in quick succession. It’s a quick turnaround and, I won’t lie, it’s hard work. But it’s all gearing us up to be in this development team and then, hopefully, the first team in the future. We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for that. I’m loving the work.”
A lengthy injury lay-off hindered Coddington’s 2021/22 campaign, limiting him to nine appearances for Kevin Keen’s U18s towards the end of the season, of which eight came from the bench.
The youngster’s sole start, as he continued his comeback, led to a goal for Coddington. With a summer under his belt, and pre-season well underway, the midfielder is eager to kick on in 2022/23.
“I was injured for a long time last season,” he added. “I was out for about eight months in the end. It was tough and I didn’t really get to do what I wanted in terms of being out on the pitch, helping in the U18s and playing football.
“I was able to get a few appearances and now, coming back for this new season, I’m feeling great and I’m very focused on showing the coaches and the Club what I can do for the team.
“With that in mind, this pre-season is about getting my confidence and my fitness back. I want to be myself again. It was a big injury last year and I suppose you doubt yourself a bit. But now, coming back and being around great players, great coaches and great people, I want to get back to being myself.”