Goncalo Cardoso’s rate of progress at West Ham will depend largely on how large a role Winston Reid has to play in the Hammers’ future.
The teenage defender has yet to make his senior bow for the Irons, but according to Football.London journalist Sam Inkersole, hopes are high for him in east London.
In a piece for the outlet, Inkersole suggests that the 6’2″ ace could be in line for senior football soon, but did also point out that his progress could be hampered by a successful return to action for long term absentee Winston Reid.
He said: “The club are happy with how Cardoso has settled and the progress he has made since arriving just a few months ago and the aim for him is to be the third-choice centre back at the club for the start of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, so expect the odd first team appearance here and there or, in case of emergency.
“Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena remain ahead of Cardoso in the pecking order and a lot of his future depends on what happens with Reid, who hasn’t played competitively in 18 months.”
At just 18, you would probably fancy Cardoso to get his chance with the Hammers at some point, even if he isn’t a regular feature for a few seasons yet. It is clear that Pellegrini thinks highly of him, and he is already a mainstay for the U23s. That being said, it feels almost impossible to properly figure out just how effective Reid will be when he returns. Undoubtedly, the New Zealander is a player, and prior to his injury, he was arguably one of the most vital talents in the Hammers’ squad. The 31-year-old averaged 5.9 clearances per game back in 2017/18, and 8.1 clearances per match the season before, as per Whoscored. He also averaged a match rating of 7.08 back in 2016/17. There is talent there, make no mistake, but 18 months on the sidelines, especially at the age of 31, is always going to take its toll, and it would be naive to assume that Reid will seamlessly fit back into Pellegrini’s plans. He could shock us all, but as a long term prospect, the smart money is still on Cardoso.