Tony Cottee Column: Why don’t West Ham youngsters get many games?

PUBLISHED: 11:04 27 April 2011 | UPDATED: 11:20 27 April 2011

Jonathan Spector goes close against Chelsea

Jonathan Spector goes close against Chelsea


“Sears made a return on the right hand side and played very well against Ashley Cole. I find it bizarre the way he has been treated by boss Avram Grant.”

I can’t remember a time when West Ham created so many chances against a top four club. The problem is they missed every one of them.

With better finishing the Hammers could have walked away from Stamford Bridge with the draw or possibly even a win and although to lose 3-0 is an extremely disappointing result, they can take heart from the performance.

There were a few key incidents, which if had gone our way would have completely changed the game.

Jonathan Spector’s miss in the first half from Freddie Sears’s cross was a tough one and he looked to be caught in two minds about whether to head the ball or volley it, while I don’t know why Carlton Cole didn’t hit his effort first time. The ball rolled nicely onto his good right foot, but he took a touch.

In the wet, slippery conditions at Stamford Bridge any shot on target could cause problems and his delay meant the chance went begging.

Obviously Robbie Keane’s miss was a major blow. A fully fit Keane who has played regularly would have put the ball in the net. The more you play the more natural finishing comes and to be honest there wasn’t too much he did wrong, he just took the shot too early.

Keane came off the bench but I find it odd he didn’t start on the left instead of Demba Ba. Ba is not left footed and is a centre forward, not a left winger.

I don’t agree with playing players out of position and I know West Ham have injury worries, but it seems odd playing Ba out there, Keane of even Hitzlsperger who is at least left footed would have been a better option.

Sears made a return on the right hand side and played very well against Ashley Cole. I find it bizarre the way he has been treated by boss Avram Grant.

He dropped Sears in February for no particular reason when he was playing well and it’s something I just don’t understand.

It seems like he is paying the penalty for being English and young. He and James Tomkins have been impressive all season, yet the big money arrivals seem to push them out of the picture. For me, whoever is playing well should play and for me those two deserve to start more matches. I believe we should be playing our youth players as much as possible, especially in a relegation struggle.

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner

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