West Ham’s Coventry could be their next midfield hope

Conor Coventry could be the latest West Ham United academy graduate, perhaps destined to follow in the footsteps of Declan Rice.

The Republic of Ireland youth international is just 19 but it already showing all of the signs that he could make a first-team breakthrough sooner rather than later.

He is currently the captain of the club’s Under-23 team, having made 36 appearances for them, and has been capped at Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 level by his country.

Coventry has already made his senior debut for the club, playing in the 8-0 EFL Cup thumping of Macclesfield Town in 2018.

Pellegrini clearly trusts him and has given him a taste of life in the first-team, as he has been on the bench a total of four times in the Premier League.

An excellent defensive midfielder with the ability to move the ball well, while also boasting the stamina to go box-to-box, his talent has long been evident.

He made his debut in the Premier League Division 2 in 2015/16, when he was just 15.

Coventry is currently with Ireland’s U21 team in the Toulon Tournament and has helped them qualify for the semi-finals, coming on as a substitute in the recent 1-0 win over Bahrain.

There is perhaps a gap opening up too. West Ham only have Rice, Carlos Sanchez and Pedro Obiang to call upon in defensive midfield and bringing Coventry through makes sense. Rice, who Coventry will hope to emulate, is the only Premier League quality player in that trio.

He’s still a teenager, of course, and there is the likelihood that he could potentially be sent out on loan.

But promoting him to the first-team, where he can learn from Rice, now an England international, and Mark Noble, a fantastic servant to the club who is hero-worshipped by the fans, will give him the required ingredients to grow and improve as a player.

He is far from the finished article, of course, but his talents are there for all at the Irons to see.

If he is exposed to the first-team, he will be in the starting XI soon enough.