West Ham have reason to feel optimistic


Despite going out of the FA Cup after losing their 3rd round replay to Manchester United on Wednesday night, West Ham should feel optimistic about the future.

One player who I believe is set for a good future in football is Dan Potts. The left back, who is eligible to play for England and the United States, produced a great performance to deny Manchester United the chance to create opportunities that Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez usually need to score goals. Although Man Utd managed to score early on, it did take a long ball from Anderson to set up Hernandez with the chance to score, but he took advantage of Jussi Jaaskelainen rushing out top ass the ball across the goal for Rooney to slot in to the empty net.

Dan Potts may only be 18 years old, but he gave a very good account of himself against the Red Devils, not just in defence but also further up the pitch to help out his teammates in attack. At some points in the game, the West Ham youngster was slow to get back and help out in defence. A prime example came when he and other West Ham players stopped to appeal for handball when Rafael seemed to touch the ball with his hand by accident.

I suppose that this is a good time to raise the question of why a player like Dan Potts is so far up the pitch, it is always good to have another player forward to support the attackers, but if the opposition manage to get the ball and counter attack, the full-back may be in trouble if he isn’t very quick on his feet. For all his hard work during the game, Potts can’t be excused for not getting in tight on Rafael when he was running into West Ham’s half. Most of the time Potts managed to close down Man Utd players and either won the ball or put it out of play, but he didn’t even get close to Rafael when he bombed forward just before setting up Hernandez on 47 minutes, who should have scored.

Another young West Ham player that impressed against Manchester United was right back Jordan Spence. The 22-year-old has only played in 10 games for the club that he has been at since he was 13. He has made a few appearances this season and has made a good impression, filling in for Guy Demel and Joey O’Brien when needed. Both of them are set to miss the game against QPR on Saturday, so it could be the chance that Jordan Spence needs to show Sam Allardyce that he should be picked to start games week-in-week-out.

Potts and Spence are not the only promising young players at West Ham. Striker Elliot Lee came off the bench in the last few minutes of the game on Wednesday night. Lee’s fellow West Ham academy graduate Sebastian Lletgethas been a regular on the subs bench for Sam Allardyce’s team this season, but the American midfielder will probably have to go out on loan if he wants any first team football this season.

With a steady stream of young players coming through the ranks at West Ham as well as some promising players out on loan in the Football League, the future looks bright for the Irons, but only if the club can keep hold of them. Sadly, that is one of the only negatives with having a good academy, you will always be known as a feeder club.

Thomas Baxter @ThomasBaxter27