Bilic shares his plan for West Ham academy graduate after brilliant season
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Slaven Bilic has revealed emerging West Ham star Reece Burke is likely to go out on loan again next season.
The 19-year-old defender was named the Bradford Player of the Year earlier this week following an impressive campaign on loan with the League One club.
Burke has been a mainstay of Phil Parkinson’s team, starting 34 matches in all competitions, including 32 in the league.
The centre-back’s season began last July when he appeared at the start of West Ham’s Europa League campaign before he was loaned out to gain valuable first-team experience.
Hammers manager Bilic and academy director Terry Westley have a clear vision for how they want the team’s youngsters to develop in the lower divisions before joining the first-team squad.
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“I like Reece, he’s a very clever player,” said Bilic on Thursday to the West Ham website. “It was and still is part of the plan for a few to go on loan, minimum one year, maybe two, for them to improve, and them to come back with a clear situation.
“To say, you will play a part for West Ham and be an important player for the squad. After that, we will decide if he’s going to do another year, and that has to be at least the Championship, or he’s going to stay with us. He will stay with us only if he has a good chance to play.”
Burke joined the Hammers academy at the age of nine and made his first-team debut at the age of 17 in an FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest.
He has been linked with a move to Premier League champions-elect Leicester.