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Yalla Shoot :Arsenal v West Ham United: FA Youth Cup final preview

West Ham striker Divin Mubama celebrates scoring in the FA Youth Cup
West Ham striker Divin Mubama scored his first senior goal in the Europa Conference League last month

West Ham’s FA Youth Cup hopefuls will be left in no doubt at Emirates Stadium – winning matters.

Kevin Keen’s side will take on an Arsenal side managed by Jack Wilshere in Tuesday’s final.

The Hammers are seeking to win the Youth Cup for the first time since 1999, when Michael Carrick and Joe Cole were part of the set-up.

And while youth coaches across the country regularly stress that there is far more emphasis at youth level the development of players than results, Keen is telling his players to seize the opportunity of a trophy.

“It matters,” Keen told BBC Sport. “It really matters.

“Part of being a footballer is wanting to win things. That is what I tell these lads when they come into the building. This is your job. To win matches. Yes, you have to entertain but that is driven by scoring goals and winning games. It is really important. Of course we want to win.

“A lot of these lads have been with West Ham since they were 10 or 11. They have played for the club for a long time. This is a chance for a little bit of history that has not been done since 1999.”

Arsenal were last in the Youth Cup final in 2018, when Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were part of the side beaten over two legs by Chelsea.

Wilshere leads them into this final as he attempts to cap an excellent first season as Arsenal’s Under-18 coach by leading them to a trophy he won as a youngster against Liverpool in 2009.

Around 8,000 West Ham fans are expected to make the short journey to Arsenal to support their team, who cruised to the Premier League Under-18 South title, suggesting they should start favourites given the home side are currently 10th.

Semi-final hat-trick hero Divin Mubama has already scored a first-team goal, against AEK Larnaca in the Europa Conference League, but Keen wants far more for his group.

“We are based on our history and our academy,” he said. “Bobby Moore, Ronny Boyce, Paul Ince, Steve Potts, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Mark Noble. Currently we have Declan Rice and Ben Johnson.

“I am really hopeful this squad we have two or three who can emulate Declan and have that sort of career.”

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