David Moyes’ West Ham United side take a break from their Premier League campaign on Wednesday night, with the Hammers making a trip to the South Coast for their FA Cup fifth-round tie against Southampton.
And, while many supporters would very much appreciate a cup run, with the Irons currently in the thick of a battle for a top-four finish in the league, as well as facing a trip to Sevilla in the Europa League round of 16 next week, the FA Cup is arguably the lowest of the club’s priorities this season.
As such, the fixture at St. Mary’s would appear to present Moyes with the perfect opportunity to rotate his starting XI – awarding a number of his first-team regulars a much-needed break, while also handing some of his peripheral squad members and youth prospects some first-team game time.
Indeed, one such player who it would greatly benefit – both for his personal development and for West Ham – to be handed a start this evening is Sonny Perkins, the 18-year-old centre-forward who has been tearing it up for the U23s this season.
With Michail Antonio currently being the Hammers’ only recognised striker, handing Perkins a start against Premier League opposition would provide the forward with extremely valuable experience that could well come in extremely useful for Moyes over the remainder of the current campaign – should Antonio pick up an injury, or simply require a rest.
And, considering just how impressive the £720k-rated England U18 international has been for both the club’s U18 and U23 sides so far this season, it would certainly appear as if the youngster is not far off pushing for a regular spot in Moyes’ senior squad.
These returns have seen the young hitman earn a considerable amount of praise, with club insider ExWHUemployee stating of Perkins:
“He’s really beginning to stand out now at academy level, really getting rave reviews. Obviously, he’s performing on the international stage as well for his age, and he is one to keep an eye on. From what I’ve heard in the academy circles, he could be the next Declan Rice.”
As such, with not much to lose in unleashing Perkins this evening, it would appear to be a smart move for Moyes to give the youngster a shot from the off at St. Mary’s, as a solid showing against Southampton could well convince the 58-year-old that the striker is ready for much more regular first-team game time – something that would come as a huge boost to the Scot.