Date: 31st July 2019 at 12:35pm
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OPINION

It’s not every day that West Ham fans can claim to have beaten some of Europe’s elite clubs, but the Hammers have won a fair few bragging rights after the latest reveal on how successful their academy is.

According to a report in the Mirror, the Hammers are ninth when it comes to teams that have produced talents who have gone on to play in the Premier League since 2017.

By contrast, Barcelona are 11th and Ajax are 12th.

In fact, outside of the fabled top six in England, only Southampton and Sheffield United ranked higher, and even then, the Hammers outstrip London rivals Arsenal.

To some, this will come as no great surprise. West Ham have always had an illustrious academy system that has produced some of the finest players in recent English history.

Modern heroes like Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, and Michael Carrick have all cut their teeth in east London, and the current crop of youngsters isn’t too bad either.

The standout it is of course Declan Rice, who has already established himself as one of the finest defensive midfielders in the Premier League, with a pass rate of 86.9% and an average of 2.9 tackles per game last season [Whoscored].

Beyond Rice, the likes of Grady Diangana and Ben Johnson are pushing hard for regular spots, and this coming season could be a big one for Nathan Holland and Conor Coventry, amongst others.

In short, this report shows what a lot of people have known for a while – the Irons are on the right track.