Date: 15th August 2019 at 9:00am
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West Ham have a “real gem” on their hands in youngster Ajibola Alese, according to .London journalist Sam Inkersole.

The 18-year-old centre-back signed his first professional back in July 2018, but has yet to make his first team bow, and Inkersole is backing him to have a big future ahead of him.

Writing during a Q&A for Football.London, he said: “The other one, and I’ve been banging on about him for absolutely ages, is Ajibola Alese, the centre back.

“I really rate him and think the Hammers have got a real gem on their hands. He signed professional terms 18 months ago and has been featuring regularly for the U23s despite being only 18.

“He was also named the academy player of the year last season, so big things are expected. He’s already trained with the first team, too.”

OPINION

It’s hard not to be excited about Alese. The Hammers have a fantastic record when it comes to their youth sides, and once again, they have a player on their hands here who looks as if he could really kick on in the relatively near future and be a big star. Everything he has done at youth level certainly suggests that he has the potential to be a success. Not only has he played for and captained England at youth level, but he has been named academy player of the year by the Hammers, regularly features for the U23s despite still being a teenager, and was described as “one of the best defenders in the country for his age group” by academy director Terry Westley when he penned his first pro deal with the Irons, as reported by the club themselves. The pedigree is definitely there, and with and Winston both looking less than reliable in recent times, his chance could be just around the corner.