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West Ham can find their ideal Cresswell heir in Regan Clayton

West Ham United spent much of the summer seemingly chasing a new left-back recruit, with the likes of David Raum and Borna Sosa having been heavily linked with a move to the London Stadium.

As it proved, David Moyes and co ultimately looked closer to home to land a new addition – having allowed Arthur Masuaku to depart on loan – as they poached Italy international Emerson Palmieri from London rivals, Chelsea.

The 28-year-old’s arrival has helped to provide competition for long-serving asset, Aaron Cresswell, with the Englishman having been a firm fixture in the side since signing from Ipswich Town back in 2014, scoring ten goals and providing 35 assists in 305 games in all competitions for the club to date.

At 32, however, it remains to be seen just how much longer the three-cap ace will remain as the first-choice option for Moyes on the left of the defence, with the addition of Emerson perhaps with one eye on the future.

The latter man has made a mixed start to life at the London Stadium, however, having completed the full 90 minutes only once in the Premier League thus far, while also failing to provide a single goal or assist in the top flight.

As such, the jury is out on whether the former Roma man can be the long-term heir to Cresswell moving forward, with the Irons potentially better served promoting from within in order to find the Liverpool-born man’s successor.

One such asset who could well be the man for the job is 17-year-old, Regan Clayton, with the promising left-back having showcased his exciting talent in the youth ranks of late, having signed his first professional contract at the club back in May.

The lifelong West Ham fan has made a smooth transition to life in the U23s in recent months, after previously scoring three goals and laying on two assists in 45 games at U18 level, with his “quality” having notably been lauded by youth coach Mark Robson last season.

The teenager has already started strongly this term with one goal and one assist in nine Premier League 2 games to date, with both of those goal involvements having come in the draw with Blackburn Rovers last week.

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While a senior appearance has thus far eluded the sparkling youngster, the Englishman has been on the cusp of the first team of late, earning a place on the bench for the Europa Conference League clash with FC Steaua Bucharest at the start of last month.

A player who Moyes is clearly keeping a close eye on, the full-back was also involved in first-team training ahead of the European meeting with Anderlecht away in Belgium a few weeks ago, albeit while ultimately missing out on an inclusion for that trip.

The signs are that young Clayton could well be a future heir to Cresswell in the coming years, with the player having even compared himself to his more senior teammate earlier this year, “for how solidly he is defensively and getting forward”.

The Hammers could well have their next gem just waiting to be unleashed.

Article title: West Ham can find their ideal Cresswell heir in Regan Clayton

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