Which young players should West Ham give chances to in 2018/19?
West Ham fans were optimistic at the season's outset. The club had signed some useful looking players in the summer transfer window. Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta all arrived at the London Stadium. Those more prone to giddy predictions saw enough improvement to talk up a top-four challenge.
Unfortunately for Hammers fans, the opposite has occurred. Their season went awry early. Manager Slaven Bilic was replaced by David Moyes. The Scot brought a measure of stability to the club. However, the Hammers still have their problems, even sitting 14th and a safe distance from the relegation zone.
Next season, personnel changes must be made both on and off the pitch if the club wishes to return to the top half. Several youngsters are coming through the ranks. Many will be hoping to make an impact in the coming season. Here are three youngsters who just might.
Josh Cullen was sent on loan to Bolton Wanderers in August. The 22-year-old made 12 first-team appearances in the Championship before he was called back to the London Stadium in January.
At 22, this is the time for Cullen to make a name for himself. Having drawn attention in games played since his return, the youngster could be given more opportunity to impress in the first team after the summer. Moyes hasn't found a solution to his midfield crisis. Might the Scot consider upgrading Cullen’s role in the squad? Having risen through the ranks at the club, Cullen could form a strong student/mentor partnership with Mark Noble.
West Ham fans have been eager for Reece Oxford to grace the pitch more often since the teenager made his debut for the club back in 2015. Oxford has played 17 games for the Hammers to date, spending most of his career on loan. At 19, he is still a very young prospect but is fast approaching the age where he needs regular first-team football to enhance his career.
The youngster only appeared six times for Borussia Monchengladbach this season but should have picked up some experience in a new system while working on his defensive skills. West Ham need to reinforce their midfield and central defensive areas this summer. Could Oxford play a part?
Domingos Quina is probably too immature to be labelled a first-team star next season.
Regardless, the 18-year-old is highly regarded in East London on the back of his six appearances with the senior team. Following short spells at Benfica and Chelsea's academies, Quina joined West Ham in 2016. He made his Hammers debut a few months later.
This season, the 18-year-old has played four games, one in the FA Cup, three in the League Cup, while keeping pace in the Portugal U-19 squad. Quina has Manuel Lanzini lighting the path to success, which could put him in a strong position for West Ham. He is not ready to become a regular starter just yet, but he could prove useful for the squad next season.