Harrison Ashby may not be a name familiar with many West Ham fans but he could well be the next name to emerge from their Chadwell Heath academy base in the next few years.
The 19-year-old right-back has impressed David Moyes since the Scotsman returned to the dugout for a second time and could be in line for more opportunities throughout the season, having made his debut in last season’s Carabao Cup win over Charlton Athletic.
He was later named in the starting line-up against Hull City in the very same competition, featuring alongside Aji Alese and Ben Johnson in a youthful backline.
That fact that he was selected over many more youngsters, some of whom only made the bench, was rather telling and only goes to show how much Moyes thinks of the Scottish gem.
Just like Declan Rice, Ashby found his feet at the Irons after being released prematurely by local rivals Chelsea, so he could well follow in the England international’s footsteps in the near future.
West Ham have been blessed with plenty of young defensive talents over the years, with Glen Johnson being a notable name and he went on to have a glistening career, playing for the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
If Ashby can break into the first team, then he certainly has the potential to become the new Johnson around these parts.
The word “fearless” is something that has stuck with the promising full-back throughout his short career to date. It’s how his father, Barry, described him to The Athletic, and he was a former defender himself, featuring for Watford and Gillingham.
Whilst U Irons podcaster Sam Delaney echoed such sentiments after his senior debut, he said:
“He’s big as well. He’s like a big unit. He’s only young, but he’s like a giant. Usually, you’re used to seeing smaller players in those wing-back positions, but he looked big, strong, he was very fearless, decent on the ball.”
With more games in the Europa League and Carabao Cup to come, on top of the FA Cup in the New Year, and of course, the remainder of the Premier League season, the teenage sensation could be handed another opportunity to impress at some stage this term.
Ashby could well become the Hammers’ next Johnson, only this time, they’ll hope he stays and has a long career at the London Stadium.