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West Ham should look to youth to help them return to the Premier League

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 May 2011

Wigan v West Ham

Wigan v West Ham

Archant

Hammers must use the academy once again to build themselves back up.

So soon after the event it is difficult to find the positives in relegation, but the opportunities which will surely be presented to some of West Ham’s emerging talent next season does give this dark cloud a silver lining.

Owners David Gold and David Sullivan have said the future of the club will not be compromised by relegation, but with many of the squad unlikely to want to play Championship football, wholesale changes will be made to the backroom staff and team.

Sacked boss Avram Grant brought in Paul Groves, David Coles as well as Wally Downes as coaches and all three are likely to depart.

They will probably be followed out the exit door by Scott Parker, for whom Harry Redknapp of Spurs is a known admirer.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, Demba Ba, Carlton Cole and Robert Green are likely to attract attention from Premier League clubs, while captain Matthew Upson’s contract expires.

And with the club set to lose £40million because of relegation, West Ham will likely turn to their academy prospects to fill the gaps and the talent is there to do so.

Academy Director Tony Carr continues to do a magnificent job and the emergence of the likes of Jack Collison, James Tomkins and Freddie Sears over the past few years is testament to that.

That trio would be a force in the Championship as would striker Zavon Hines, whose pace and direct style of play would cause problems for opposition defences.

West Ham could have a ready-made replacement for Robert Green in Marek Stech, if he resolves his issues with the club, while there is a lot of hope left back Jordan Brown will also become a regular.

Jordan Spence, another highly fought of made his debut at right back in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Wigan.

The 20-year-old started his first game in claret and Blue at the DW Stadium and although his contract expires at the end of the season is desperate to stay and help his boyhood club return to the Premier League and be part of the re-building process.

“I would like to stay, I have always said that since January when I started speaking to the club I have said that because this is my football club, this is my team, so hopefully everything can get sorted out,” he said.

“It is the same with any football club going down, you have to start rebuilding. There are not many who go down and don’t put in lots of changes in playing personnel.

“It was such a proud moment to pull on that shirt today. Like I said this is a massive football club, I have been here since I was 15 and my target since I joined was to be a regular in this first team.”

“We have been relegated and we can’t underestimate the Championship is a difficult league, but I can say that I and whoever else is out there will do everything we can to bring us back to where we deserve to be.”

The pride and hope the full-back has is something all associated with West Ham can take heart and in one of its darkest hours.

Surely now is the time to once again put faith in the youth system which has produced Spence and so many Hammers’ legends over the years.


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