West Ham United midfielder Keenan Appiah-Forson has been called up to first-team training ahead of the club’s upcoming meeting with RSC Anderlecht.
In a recent video posted on the West Ham YouTube channel, the 20-year-old can be seen taking part in a number of drills with David Moyes’ first-team squad at the London Stadium ahead of the Hammers’ trip to Belgium on Thursday.
Appiah-Forson’s fellow West Ham U21 teammate, centre-back Levi Laing, can also be seen in training with the senior side, something that would suggest the youngsters may well be a part of Moyes’ Europa Conference League squad to face Anderlecht.
Considering just how much hype there is surrounding the future of Appiah-Forson, the fact that the defensive midfielder has now been called up to first-team training is undoubtedly an extremely exciting development for everyone involved with West Ham.
Indeed, the £270k-rated talent has been an ever-present part of Mark Robson’s U21 side so far this season, featuring in all nine of the youth side’s nine fixtures in all competitions in 2022/23, with his latest performance being particularly eye-catching.
Despite the Hammers’ 2-0 loss to MK Dons in the Football League Trophy, the 20-year-old was undoubtedly the Irons’ standout performer in the fixture, enjoying 57 touches of the ball, boasting a pass completion rate of 96% – the best of any player to feature in the match – and finding his man with his one attempted long ball.
The £350-per-week youngster also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, winning both of his duels – a success rate of 100% – making one interception and drawing two fouls for his side, with these returns seeing him earn a SofaScore match rating of 6.8 – the best of any West Ham player on the night.
Furthermore, from these metrics, it is easy to see why Terry Westley – the club’s former U21 manager – went as far as to compare the youngster to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, stating of Appiah-Forson in an interview with The Athletic last year:
“Keenan’s small but he’s such a tough boy. He’s similar to N’Golo Kante in terms of his work ethic because he’s so difficult to mark. Keenan has a lot of potential and it’s great that young players are getting an opportunity at West Ham under David Moyes. Keenan could be next.”
As such, while it remains up in the air as to whether or not the academy starlet will play a part against Anderlecht tomorrow evening, the midfielder’s future at the London Stadium appears much more concrete – with Moyes’ trust in the 20-year-old potentially resulting in the unearthing of West Ham’s very own Kante.