Two games, two goals for Xande Silva this season. The Portuguese is 22 years of age and never before has a first-team opportunity seemed so near.
After returning to the action in February, he’s scored in each of his appearances for West Ham’s U23s, sending a real message to David Moyes during troubled times.
The Irons are in the relegation zone but Silva is someone capable of evoking happy thoughts, rather than the frustrating ones that so often engulf the London Stadium at the moment.
The Hammers took on Stoke on Monday evening at that very ground in Premier League 2 and rather unsurprisingly, Silva was the star man, scoring a goal described as ‘outrageous’ by journalist Sam Inkersole.
The forward grabbed the ball and then brilliantly rounded the goalkeeper before slotting it home from a tight angle. It was a strike worthy of opening the scoring.
It was that very moment that had vast numbers of West Ham fans crying for one thing – a place in the senior side for Silva.
Play him in the first team
— ethan (follow limit) (@WhuEthan) February 17, 2020
GET HIM IN THE FIRST TEAM ASAP
— Adam Jessop (@adammmm_1998) February 17, 2020
He needs to be in first team top player
— Steve (@49whufc_smh) February 17, 2020
Those calls are certainly understandable given the lack of goals in a forward area this term. The Irons’ attacking line has struggled with Sebastien Haller leading the way on just six strikes. Behind him, however, is Robert Snodgrass on four and Mark Noble on the same number, via WhoScored.
It’s evident more goals are needed and Silva’s qualities could be exactly what’s needed to refresh the squad.
Speaking after the game, Football.London’s West Ham correspondent said: “Was a constant menace throughout. Should have done better with a chance in the second half but a poor touch let him down. Always an outlet, looks a step above this level.”
This led to further calls for the 22-year-old to feature in Moyes’ plans. One said they hoped he’d get an opportunity while another compared him to Jermaine Defoe – suggesting he has what it takes to make it in the Premier League.
We have had a lot of youngsters score a lot of goals at this level and go nowhere. Silva is the first one we have had, probably since Defoe (I know we signed him from Charlton) that I think can make it in the Prem, hopefully see him in the squad soon.
— G (@gdizzle1981) February 17, 2020
Now this is what we want to see…
Hopefully has a part to play before the end of the season….
— Ⓟⓗⓘⓛⓘⓟ 父 Ⓦⓘⓛⓚⓘⓝⓢⓞⓝ 父 (@PW57WHU) February 17, 2020
Xande Silva back fit and scoring regularly for the U23 side for West Ham – he needs to feature in and around the first team matchday squads between now and the end of the season. We need as many inform players available as possible – whether they are first team or youth team.
— Josh Verrills (@WestHamJoshV) February 17, 2020
Further reaction centred around comparisons with Silva and current members of the West Ham squad. One supporter went as far as describing the youngster as the club’s best winger, even ahead of players like Felipe Anderson who registered 13 goal contributions in the Premier League last term.
Another fan claimed he was already better than Haller while one was dreaming of a possible link-up between the academy player and the French striker.
Our best winger
— some guy ⚒ (@GuyBailess) February 17, 2020
Silva > haller
— Joel 🏴⚒ (@JoelWhu) February 17, 2020
Xande x Haller
— Oooduley (@oooduley) February 17, 2020
Whether he does get an opportunity remains to be seen, but this performance should certainly have sent a message to Moyes.
Meanwhile in other Hammers news, frustration over a departure should now INTENSIFY greatly…