Xande Silva could be West Ham’s next graduate star

Xande Silva is very nearly ready to become a senior star at West Ham United.

The forward, just 21, has been at the club for under a year, joining from Benfica in 2018.

But he has already shown flashes that he is more than ready to make the permanent step up to the first-team.

In just seven Premier League 2 games this season, he has scored seven goals and has an international pedigree to boot.

He has played for Portugal at every level from Under-15 to Under-20, scoring for every single one of them.

Silva, who can play as a striker or on either wing, was handed his debut by Manuel Pellegrini against Burnley earlier this season, coming on for 17 minutes of the 2-0 defeat.

And though he was unable to hit the back of the net, Silva expressed his determination to get back into the first-team as soon as possible.

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Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I’m very happy as it’s a dream come true.

“We are disappointed with the game but we are still fighting for more. I work every day for this. It was close to being a goal. I tried my best, but I’ll have to wait for the next game.

“I was waiting for the opportunity and the opportunity came to me and I enjoyed it, but what I’m saying is we are still working for the next games.

“It’s a dream because this is the best league in the world and every kid in the world wants to play in this league.”

He subsequently started in the 2-0 win over Birmingham City in the FA Cup, playing 79 minutes.

Marko Arnautovic, when motivated and fit, is surely the first-choice forward at the club but the likes of Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez are largely interchangeable in the pecking order.

Pellegrini bringing Silva through against Burnley and Birmingham may well have been a warning to those on the fringes, that there is a kid waiting in the wings hungry to take their place.

He will surely make his first Premier League start for the club soon – Silva is more than ready, and looks a truly mouth-watering prospect for Hammers fans to fawn over.