West Ham United have taken several academy youngsters to Austria for their Europa League clash with Rapid Wien this evening…
That’s according to football.london’s reliable Irons reporter Tom Clark, the likes of central defensive duo Jamal Baptiste and Aji Alese, recent debutant Dan Chesters and young goal machine Sonny Perkins have all travelled with the first-team squad for tonight’s match.
“West Ham have brought a number of youngsters with them to Vienna – Jamal Baptiste, Aji Alese, Dan Chesters as expected and Sonny Perkins who has been in fine form for the U23’s of late,” he revealed on Twitter.
Hammers boss David Moyes is no stranger to handing opportunities to those up-and-coming prospects in the club’s youth set-up, having given out an array of debuts since his return to the London Stadium.
And there will not be a better chance to see what West Ham’s biggest young talents can do in the men’s game than in situations like this as the east Londoners have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition.
Of course, the top spot in Group H is still up for grabs, so we may not see some of these names start the encounter but if Moyes’ men can mount an early lead, then there will be no harm in changing things up after the break.
It’s got to be exciting news for much of the Irons faithful, who cannot travel to watch this game live due to UEFA’s sanctions, so many can look on from home with a sense of pride that several more youngsters are being handed a chance to shine at such a level.
Perkins has been in electric form for both club and country this campaign, so he’ll be one to watch, having scored nine goals in 14 appearances across the Premier League 2 and U18s, via Transfermarkt.
Whilst Baptiste and Alese could prove their worth to Moyes, particularly after the recent injury blow suffered to Angelo Ogbonna. There’s a place up for grabs for the remainder of the season in the first-team, so hopefully they can take the opportunity, should they be given it.
All in all, this early news should leave many supporters thrilled heading into kick-off tonight.