Every youngster in West Ham‘s academy right now will be looking to emulate Declan Rice’s progression into the first team but 16-year-old Ollie Scarles may well have a better chance than most.
Rice joined West Ham’s academy after leaving Chelsea and has gone on to become the Hammers’ captain after Mark Noble’s retirement, making 208 appearances for the first team by the age of 23.
He is also an England regular, having earned 34 caps for Gareth Southgate’s side in his career thus far, and he looks likely to be a mainstay for the Three Lions for the next decade.
In Scales, West Ham look to have an extremely talented teenager who is already threatening to break into the first team, having travelled to Belgium to face Anderlecht last week.
The Athletic’s West Ham reporter Roshane Thomas has claimed that Scarles is “on David Moyes’ radar” and it is easy to see why, as he has registered three assists in three U’18 Premier League games so far this season.
Transfermarkt suggests that Scarles’ main positions are as a defensive midfielder and a centre-back, so the Rice comparisons are only going to be natural as he continues to progress in the Hammers’ academy.
However, The Athletic claim that he is also capable of featuring as a left wing-back and left-midfielder, having featured there in Papa John’s Trophy game earlier this season.
Scarles’ former coach David Kingston spoke very highly of the youngster’s attitude and ability when speaking to The Athletic.
He said: “West Ham have a great player on their hands. He’s probably the most humble teenager you’ll come across. In terms of having a positive attitude, he’s the best I’ve worked with.”
While it might be some time before we see Scarles feature regularly in West Ham’s first team, he looks to have a bright future ahead of him and with enough hard work, there seems no reason why he can’t emulate Rice’s progression from academy star to England regular.