There’s a lot to be said for trusting in youth, and West Ham recognise that better than most other clubs.
Whether it’s bringing through homegrown talent or investing in the brightest young prospects from elsewhere, the Hammers are continuing in a fine tradition of letting their starlets shine.
The ascension of the likes of Declan Rice and Issa Diop last season were prime examples of just how successful a policy of letting youth come through can be, and you wouldn’t bet against the Irons unearthing a couple more gems this coming season.
One name that has been mentioned, especially by Football.London journalist Sam Inkersole, is that of young centre-back Ajibola Alese.
The 6’3″ defender [FM Data] is very highly thought of in east London, and managed to work his way into U23s starting line up on a regular basis last term, despite still being only 18.
24 appearances, including 14 in the Premier League 2, have shown that the England youth international has what it takes to make the step up to senior football at some point in the not too distant future.
The youngster was awarded the Dylan Tombides Award for his performances this season by the Hammers, and has been described by their official website as “dominant and inspirational”.
Alese has also been rewarded with a professional contract by the club, and all things considered, he is surely on the right trajectory to earning a first team nod.
If Pellegrini has any sense he will take him with the squad out to Switzerland for their preseason preparations, and if he makes good on that chance, Alese could be the next big thing in east London.
He would fully deserve his shot.