West Ham should take a leaf out of Southampton’s book


Since our last era of great players: Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard. There haa been a real shortage in talent coming out of the West Ham youth academy, ‘the academy of football’ is resorting to buying young talent because our academy cannot produce enough of it’s own.

Just this week, we bought Doneil Henry, but there are defenders coming out of the academy like Reece Burke, he has been on the bench regularly for the first-team, and during pre-season played against Sampdoria and scored the winner. Sam Allardyce clearly wants to give the youth players a chance, but when the talent dries up and we have to look into buying young players from farther afield, issues will arise.

Also Reece Oxford, captain of the England U17 side, signed his first professional contract this week, warding off interest from the likes of Manchester United, who expressed an interest in signing our bright young centre-back. But now that West Ham have tied him down to a long-term professional contract, we will have some promising young talent to look to when we make the big step up into the Olympic Stadium.

Over the last couple of years, West Ham have resorted to buying young talent, we bought Ravel Morrison, which didn’t work out, last year we were rejecting offers from Fulham of £4 million, now, our owners have decided were willing to let him leave for nothing, even though we paid £650,000 as a raw young talent who needed grounding – it looked like it was a good move at the time.

In hindsight, we could’ve got a nice amount of money being a “selling club” like we are. The only significant moment I can remember in Ravel Morrison’s West Ham career up until now was his run and finish in our 3-0 win over Spurs last season. Other than that he has just caused problems and tarnished our reputation. Morrison’s off-the-field antics have become a major problem for us, Allardyce has cast him out, probably in hope that a club will come and take him off of our hands. He has been getting into trouble repeatedly and been to court for abusing his girlfriend and her mother.

West Ham need to put their focus back into the youth academy as we have spent a lot of money recently, we should try and grow our own talent, to save money and be more self satisfied – look at Southampton they have produced real talent recently but haven’t had the resolve to hold onto their players, like Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Luke Shaw.

That is what West Ham should strive to be, but make sure they keep the talent that will push them up the Premier League table and challenging at the top end consistently.

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  • jason.t says:

    Not quite true about Saints having resolve to hold onto players. Bale and Walcott were sold to try to stave off financial meltdown (which failed ). Shaws never worth 30 million and was replaced by Bertrand who hopefully be signing after loan period for half the price and is the better player. Good business really.

  • Ottawa Hammer says:

    Very difficult to grow players and get them across the finishing line as a regular in the first team. Burke and Oxford may be highly rated but let us not forget Jordan Spence who played for and captained England at youth levels, but just couldn’t make it over the line. I was also surprised that Hall and Turgott didn’t make it. The two teenage strikers Jordan Brown (Arsenal) and Jaanai Gordon (Peterborough) that we poached ( a la Defoe from Charlton) are they still looking good? What about Oliver Lee? I was really hopeful of seeing him get a start – his balance, acceleration and sniping ability looked great. He won’t get a look in with our forwards now available. Southampton have consistently developed and brought through good players from Le Tiss, Shearer, Channon, Chivers, right through to Bale and Walcott and their current crop. Whatever coaching set up they have in their academy should be a model for everyone to follow and improve on. I very much liked Tony Carr but it was time the Hammers Academy had a leadership and coaching rethink. Let us see what Terry Westley can do.

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