West Ham starlet Ajibola Alese has been training with the first-team in the past week, Football.London reports.
The young defender has been promoted to the first-team to continue his development, although he is not expected to make an imminent first-team breakthrough.
Manuel Pellegrini has been willing to give youth a chance this season. Under his stewardship, five academy players have been handed their first-team debuts.
Grady Diangana, Conor Coventry and Joe Powell played against Macclesfield Town in the EFL Cup. And Xande Silva and Ben Johnson have since been used in the senior side.
While Alese is not first-team ready just yet, West Ham hold high hopes for him. And Pellegrini appears to be running the rule over him in first-team training.
Who is Ajibola Alese?
Alese plays as a centre-back and he has stepped up from under-18 to under-23 football this season. Playing in the Premier League 2, Alese has not let the step-up in quality faze him.
The 18-year-old has taken a leading role in central defence for West Ham’s under-23 team since Reece Oxford’s January departure and Josh Pask’s injury.
With 15 games for the under-23 side under his belt this season, Alese is gaining vital experience. And the England under-18 defender is rated highly by club and country.
West Ham rewarded him with a three-year deal last summer and he is a regular for the young Lions. The future looks bright for Alese, who will be hoping to impress when he mixes with the first-team.