West Ham chief identifies three emerging stars knocking on first team door
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham academy stars Martin Samuelsen, Reece Burke and Josh Cullen have been named as players who should be knocking on the first team door next season.
Under-21s manager Terry Westley believes the trio should be targeting involvement in the senior side in 2016-17.
Samuelsen, 18 has been on loan at Peterborough for most of the season, while Burke and Cullen, both 19, are on loan at Bradford.
Westley is convinced the trio are ready to make the step up to Premier League football if they continue to develop as expected.
He said: “Lewis Page at Cambridge, Josh Cullen and Reece Burke at Bradford, Martin Samuelsen at Peterborough, they’ve all had great experiences that will stand them in good stead to progress next season.
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“Some of them will be ready for the first team and for Slaven [Bilic] and will be able to help.”
Westley claims loan moves suits some players, while others benefit from graduating straight from the Academy to the first team.
He told the West Ham website: “It depends on who the individual is, but both types of experience are vital. Some clubs will tell you it’s all about a loan, but others will say if you’re 18 and good enough you’ll have a go in the team. You might not need a loan.
“Look at [Luke] Shaw, [James] Ward-Prowse, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain and [Theo] Walcott at Southampton – they all never went on loan. But then at Spurs, [Ryan] Mason, [Tom] Carroll, [Harry] Kane and [Andros] Townsend – they all had a lot of loans.
“It just proves it depends on where the player is on his pathway.
“I think Samuelsen, Cullen and Burke, after a loan in the Football League, have got to prove next pre-season that they’re ready to help the first team and help the manager.”