On Friday evening, I decided that I would take a trip to Upton Park to watch the West Ham United Development Squad, take on Arsenal. I went for a couple of reasons, one to see what our youngsters are up to, two, it was an evening out with my brother and three, I wanted to see what Wellington Paulista was like when watching him live and close up. I will be giving views on all of the players, I stress that I have only seen them this one time, so it’s hard for me to judge on a consistent basis.
West Ham lined up with Spiegel in goal, Callum Driver RB, George McCartney LB, Jordan Spence and Dan Potts playing CB. Amos Nasha, George Moncur and Pelly Ruddock made up the middle 3, Elliott Lee LW, Blair Turgott RW and Wellington Paulista played the lone striker role.
I will start off with Wellington Paulista – this bloke is meant to be one of the best strikers in Brazil? Great goalscoring record in their league, but looked nothing like his reputation in this game. He looked lethargic, off the pace and not interested. First half especially, his touch was poor, he didn’t get a sniff off of Arsenals two centre backs, one of which was Sebastian Squillaci. He didn’t run or chase the ball down, and didn’t get any chances in the first half. Second half he improved slightly, got a few more nice touches, but that’s to be expected of a player of his alleged ‘quality’ against Arsenals reserves. The shots he did have were poor on his left foot, sailing well wide of the Arsenal goal. In all honesty, I was not impressed, and if this is how he would play in the first team, I would rather we played Mido instead of him. I may have caught him on an off day, maybe he was saving himself for Chelsea, but if Big Sam was going to use Welly on Sunday, then surely he wouldn’t have played 90 minutes.
A player who has featured a lot on the West Ham bench this season is Raphael Spiegel. Honestly, if this is our back up keeper, then I hope to god Jussi doesn’t get injured. Spiegel reminds me of David De Gea when he first come to England – small, lightweight and not particularly good. He looked uncomfortable at this level, so I can’t imagine how he would fair if he had to play in the EPL now – against the likes of Van Persie, Suarez and Torres. He did make a good save in the second half, but this sort of save is bread and butter to a keeper playing at a big club like West Ham. The goalkeeping area is a position we really need to strengthen, both first team and below.
However, on a positive note, there were a number of players that stood out. The most surprising was a player called Amos Nasha –played the holding midfielder role, and was superb. He sat in, was always readily available to receive the ball, his passing was accurate, he broke up the play and defended really well. He also looked like the youngest player on the pitch. He is definitely one to watch in the next 3-4 years, once he has developed and grown a bit in stature.
George Moncur started slowly, but as he got into the game, really stamped authority on the midfield. Hard working, tough tackling and good passing – very much like his dad. He seems to be a box to box player – maybe in the similar mould to Kevin Nolan. Other stand out players were Pelly Ruddock and Callum Driver.
Jordan Spence and Dan Potts looked extremely comfortable at the back, Spence especially, he should be around the first team more. Blair Turgott looked tricky on the wing, the thing that concerns me is he looks too lightweight. He does get knocked off the ball too easily, but hopefully, he can build himself up over the next year or so and start making a push for the first team also. Finally, Sean Maguire looks a top prospect. He did more in 10 minutes than Wellington did in 90! Good ball control, superb movement, and unlucky not to get a goal at the end when he was one on one with the Arsenal keeper, who pulled off a good save. I look forward to seeing more of him in the next few seasons!
I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and will certainly be going again. I urge you all to go along as well and give some support to our youngsters.