David Moyes has been urged to be “brave” with defender Jamal Baptiste.
The centre-back played in West Ham’s 5-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers in pre-season prior to the 2020/21 campaign.
He is just 16 but has not been massively exposed to the first-team as of yet, at least not in a competitive setting.
An England U16 international, Baptiste has made 24 appearances for the U18s and has already been promoted to the U23s, playing eight times.
And former Hammers hero Frank McAvennie has urged Moyes to show a boldness with the way he manages the teenager in the coming season.
Speaking to Football Insider, he drew comparisons with Reece Oxford, who obviously made his breakthrough in east London but was ultimately moved on in 2019, joining German club FC Augsburg.
He said:”It is very promising and if you have the talent it does not matter what age you are. They brought Rio Ferdinand through when he was young, maybe not as young as that though. But I remember the boy Reece Oxford but I think they brought him through a bit too quick so I hope the same does not happen with Baptiste because they have a talent there.
“When I was playing 16-year-old’s would not get anywhere near the first team. It is different now because they are athletes. Different times.
“If he is good enough David Moyes has to be brave and put him in. The fans will give him time. They will certainly give a boy that has come through the academy more time than a big-money signing.”
It remains to be seen when the Hammers will have the opportunity to bring Baptiste in; the first game of the season comes against Newcastle United before tough clashes with Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, Spurs, Manchester City, and Liverpool.