Outgoing West Ham United academy director Terry Westley has picked Xande Silva to make a big first team impact in the near future.
Westley will leave the Hammers later this month to take up a role in Japan with the J-League, but before then he has tipped the Portuguese starlet to come good at the London Stadium.
“Xande did really well in his opening games – a hat-trick against Spurs, but suffered a lot of injury problems,” he told Claret & Hugh. “That halted him and at the moment the jury is probably out a bit but he has great strength and is no mug on the ball – very comfortable and if he gets a run of games I really expect him to make his presence felt.
“He could well be one of those who makes the trip to the Asia Cup with perhaps the likes of Conor Coventry, Nathan Holland and Josh Cullen. Obviously the strike force is likely to be broken up from last season and if it goes well for him I think Xande can hopefully force his way through.”
It’s hard to disagree with anything Westley says here, really. Silva made a big impression when he first joined last summer, but suffered some untimely injuries throughout the campaign. However, when he was fit he did enough to break into Manuel Pellegrini’s first team squad and make his Hammers debut. So he’s clearly got talent and is obviously someone the manager has an eye on. The big thing for the 22-year-old will be remaining fit. If he can do that then there’s going to be a chance for him to break into the first team on a more permanent basis. As Westley alludes to, there will likely be much change in the team’ striking department. Andy Carroll’s exit has been confirmed, as has Lucas Perez’s, while there is uncertainty over the future of Javier Hernandez. So unless West Ham get a move on and bring in some more attackers, the stage will be set for Silva to show what he can do – proving Westley right in the process.