Nobody has played more games for the Republic of Ireland Under-21 team than Conor Coventry.Coventry not only occupies the central pivot in the Irish midfield but is the centre point of a squad that has gone through several personnel changes since the beginning of the campaign in September 2021.A wise head on young shoulders, he is the latest in a long line of academy players at West Ham that have made the step-up into the first team."I've been at West Ham since I was kid," said Coventry."I worked for a long time to be around the first team there so to get the opportunity has been great."It's what I always wanted really, keep working hard and wanting more."Coventry has made just two appearances so far this season for the Hammers, both off the bench, one coming in the Premier League and one coming in the UEFA Conference League.West Ham spent over €185m this summer on the likes of Lucas Paqueta from Lyon, Nayef Aguerd from Rennes, Maxwel Cornet from Burnley, Thilo Kehrer from Paris Saint-Germain and Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo.It has never been harder for academy players to break into teams operating at the top end of the English Premier League, but his club boss David Moyes saw value in keeping the former Academy Player of the Year around."In my head at the start I wasn't too sure if I’d go again or stay and eventually I spoke to the manager and he told me he wanted me to stay and I would get me as many minutes as I can."For me, as an academy graduate, a West Ham boy, ultimately I wanted to play for West Ham.
That’s the decision I took."Contrast to his club situation, Coventry's experience means he is one of the key components of Jim Crawford's team."I'd be one of the younger ones fighting for a place in the teamRead more on rte.ie