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One to watch: West Ham’s next midfield star?

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West Ham’s next midfield star?

In the next instalment of the series focusing on West Ham’s young talent, we turn our attention to the promising midfielder, Lewis Orford.

Orford initially caught my attention last season when West Ham triumphed in their successful campaign for the FA Youth Cup. As they convincingly defeated Southampton and Arsenal in the semi-final and final, Orford had already established himself as a capable player.

However, it wasn’t until I saw him first-hand on a chilly night in Wycombe that I could fully appreciate his skills on the field.

Firstly, it’s essential to note Orford’s age – he’s only 17. This is relatively young even by under-21 standards, especially when considering his participation in senior football in the EFL Trophy. One of the biggest compliments I can give him is that he didn’t look out of place.

Orford possesses the awareness, vision, and passing range to dictate play from deeper positions in midfield. In the true traditions of the Academy of Football, he plays with his head up, displaying a clear picture in his mind before receiving the ball.

Lewis Orford-West Ham-Midfielder has potential to reach the Hammers first team

West Ham’s next midfield star? Orford has huge potential

Can young midfielder make the step up?

Physically, Orford, at 17, has a good height, and I am confident that with another year, he will be physically ready for senior football. Ideally, he would remain with the Under-21s for the rest of the season and go on loan next season. However, if he secures a loan move this season, he certainly has the talent to excel.

Whilst he may not be as physically developed as Gideon Kodua, who recently joined Wycombe, it’s crucial to remember that Kodua is two years older than Orford at 19. By the time Orford reaches his 19th birthday, I expect him to regularly feature on the West Ham bench and start pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

Orford is one of three players I anticipate making the leap from this group. However, that’s not to discount others; there is undoubtedly ample talent throughout the entire squad, and many of them are poised for flourishing professional careers, regardless of the club they might join.

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Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose