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Few football fans across Europe, including Norwegians, had heard of Martin Samuelsen when he signed a two-year-deal with West Ham in June. The former Manchester City youth player got his debut in July, and now he is the Premier League player Norwegians look forward to seeing the most as the season kicks off.
Name: Martin Samuelsen
Age: 18 – D.O.B: 17 April 1997
Club: West Ham
Nurtured in Manchester the Norwegian 18-year-old has impressed massively during West Ham’s pre-season. He even got his official debut for the first team in the Europa League qualifier against Birkirkara in July. Despite being signed for the future, chances are he will play Premier League as soon as this season.
As shown in many YouTube videos his family has created over the years, Samuelsen clearly has brilliant technique and loves taking on players. From young age he was head and shoulders ahead of his age with his step-overs, first touch and quick feet.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was clearly impressed with the teenager when he pulled on the Hammers shirt for the first time in a friendly against Peterborough in July, a game in which he also scored.
“Martin was lively and is a very talented player. You can see that he has quick feet and a quick way to control the ball, which is very important. He can be very useful,” Bilic said.
At 14, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City were all chasing Samuelsen much due to his goal-scoring abilities as a kid. At his first club, Djerv 1919, he took notes of his own stats, which were concluded ‘somewhere around 1450 goals’ by the time Vard Haugesund snatched him up.
A year after the move to Vard Haugesund, Manchester City brought him to England. However, things never really happened for Samuelsen at Manchester City, so when he got an offer from Premier League colleagues West Ham this summer it was an easy decision to leave Manchester behind for better times in London.
As a result of the sudden emergence of Samuelsen he has never played for Norway – not even on Under-18, Under-19 nor Under-21 level. Norway coach Per-Mathias Høgmo has however looked at Samuelsen, so his debut for Norway’s first team should come sooner rather than later.
Despite a tough time at Manchester City, Samuelsen had multiple interested clubs when he decided his time at the Etihad academy was up. Roma showed interest and invited him to come train with before Christmas last year.
Speaking to Norwegian press, Samuelsen expressed his delight with his performance in the Italian capital, highlighting that he nutmegged Roma legend Francesco Totti in a behind-closed-doors friendly.
However nothing came of the visit to Rome, but he didn’t have to wait long for more interest in his signature.
In March 2015, Bundesliga club Schalke 04 and West Ham came calling. He opted for West Ham, as he as a young prodigy always dreamed of playing in the English Premier League. That dream might become reality at Boleyn Ground within a couple of months.
Written by Lars H. Thomesen
Follow Lars on Twitter @LarsHT
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