Date: 1st August 2019 at 6:32am
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West Ham United co chairman David Gold has gushed over two Hammers graduates in light of a new statistic.

It was midfielders Mark and Declan Rice who were the target of the ’ chief’s admiration, with Gold crediting them for being behind a specific element of the team’s success last season.

“West Ham were ranked 4th in the last season when it came to academy graduates getting time in the first team,” he wrote on his personal Twitter account.

United led the way with 9,344 minutes, with West Ham in 4th having 6,344 minutes, largely driven by Declan Rice and Mark Noble’s appearances dg.”

OPINION

These are certainly the two academy graduates who played the most for West Ham last time out. However, under Manuel Pellegrini, a few other youngsters got game time as well having come through the youth system in . Grady Diangana was a pretty regular contributor in the first team, while teenage full back Ben Johnson got a game against , as well. There’s still scope to improve the team’s tally in this regard next season, with Rice and Noble set to play at least as much football as they did last campaign. Diangana will be hoping to match or exceed what he did last time out, but it’s Johnson who will be expected to push the Hammers closer to Manchester United’s Premier League-leading tally. The 19-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the course of pre season and so he will be expected to offer stiff competition to the established starters in both full back positions at the London Stadium.