West Ham academy boss Terry Westley has tipped Nathan Holland to be the next Hammers youngster to follow in Declan Rice’s footsteps and make a breakthrough into the first team.
The Chadwell Heath chief is departing at the end of the season, but has singled out the winger as a talent he believes is “a little bit special” during an interview with respected Hammers outlet Claret & Hugh.
Westley said: “Had he [Holland] remained injury free he would maybe have had his chances before now but I have few doubts that he’s going to be a very big player.
“To have seen Declan Rice arrive as an England international with some rating him a £70 million player and that four of the academy boys were on the pitch for the Macclesfield game are massive highlights.”
Holland looks like a real player, and there are few people as uniquely placed to confirm that impression as Westley. The academy chief has been at the helm for five years, and has seen some real talents come through during his time at the club. Most recently, the likes of Declan Rice and Grady Diangana have become fully fledged members of the first team setup, and the fact that Westley is willing to go out on a limb and suggest that Holland could follow in their footsteps is a massive sign of faith in the youngster. He has suffered with injuries this year, and who knows where he would be if he hadn’t, but now, with a decent recovery under his belt and a new season on the horizon, you get the impression that it is only a matter of time before he breaks into Manuel Pellegrini’s first team plans.