Academy Director Terry Westly believes a number of his youngsters are now ready for the Premier League next season with a particular focus on young centre-back Declan Rice who he believes will be the next Academy product to break through as a regular Hammers first teamer.
In March this year, the Under 23 captain, Declan Rice signed a new contract with the Hammers – putting pen-to-paper on a three-and-a-half year contract which will keep him at the London Stadium until June 2020.
The 18-year-old former Chelsea star has impressed at every level of West Ham’s Academy since joining the club four years ago winning the Dylan Tombides award last season and the Young Hammer of the year award this week. He captained his team through a Premier League play-off semi to reach a play-off final against Newcastle next Tuesday.
His performances haven’t gone unnoticed and Slav called him up to the first-team squad for the Premier League games against Sunderland and Everton. He remained on the bench but enjoyed the experience.
Although fellow Academy centre back Reece Oxford experienced some first team action for the Hammers last season the last Academy product to break through to become a regular first teamer was James Tomkins in 2008.
That is an appalling record for youth players breaking through, no one since Tonks. I’m surprised any talented youngster sign for us. Saying that not many have left & gone on to make it else where. Stanislas is the only one in the PL i can think of but tbh I doubt he would get in to many other sides starting 11.
Maybe next season will be different……….
Nearly ten years! Yes Essex ‘appalling’ is the word I was searching for.
Noble broke through in 2004, Collison in 2007 and Tomkins in 2008
Zavon Hines also broke through in 2007 but also played 22 times
and Junior Stanislas also broke through in 2008 and played 45 times.
Still nothing for nine long years though