By Richard Parks
West Ham have ripped up the contract of defender Alex Pike three months early, it has been confirmed.
The Premier League club released a statement on their official website to announce that Pike’s lengthy association has come to an end after 11 years.
It is said that the contract, which was due to run until the end of June, has been terminated by “mutual consent” as the 6ft tall right-back begins the search for a new club.
Pike, 21, managed just one senior appearance for West Ham, coming on as a late substitute in a Europa League qualifier against Astra Giurgiu in August 2015.
The London-born right-back has remained a prominent member of the Hammers’ second string during his years since graduating from the academy.
He has clocked up 57 appearances for the development side.
Football Insider verdict:
The writing was on the wall for Pike’s chances of making a breakthrough at West Ham after manager David Moyes opted to use Cheikhou Kouyate as a makeshift right-back in recent weeks in the absence of Pablo Zabaleta and Sam Byram rather than promote Pike. The defender has graduated through the ranks of the famous academy but has not been able to make the grade. It is sensible for the youngster to be released from his contract to secure free agent status and start the process early of finding a new club. There is no reason why Pike cannot pursue a fine career in the lower leagues.