When it comes to West Ham United’s attack, there is a chance for a talented, young player to force his way into manager Manuel Pellegrini’s plans this pre season.
One such player is versatile forward Dan Kemp. The 20-year-old enjoyed an encouraging season for the Hammers’ U23s side, and is well positioned to make the step up to the first team.
Pellegrini has shown a genuine willingness to trust in youth since arriving in east London. The obvious example is Declan Rice, who was handed a prominent role by the Chilean this campaign. But Pellegrini has also given opportunities to Grady Diangana, Xande Silva and Ben Johnson.
Kemp could well be the next youngster to make the breakthrough. He is approaching the age where he needs to step up to first team football, be that at the London Stadium or out on loan somewhere. However, if he has an impressive pre season then his chances of wearing a claret and blue shirt with regularity next term will go up exponentially.
The Englishman scored six goals in 15 Premier League 2 games this season, with the majority of those matches played out on the right. Luckily for him, there is plenty of uncertainty on that area of the pitch for the Hammers.
Michail Antonio has finally seemed to have won the trust of his manager, but he’s done so more as a second striker playing off Marko Arnautovic. That leaves veteran Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko, returning from a serious injury, as Pellegrini’s options on the right wing next time out.
So there is an opportunity for Kemp to break into the first team reckoning. He has the ability, there’s little doubt of that, but he must steal the show this pre season to become Pellegrini’s main man.