In recent weeks, there has been quite a negative feel around Upton Park since the 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City.  West Ham United failed to bring in a much needed striker on transfer deadline day, and with the news about Andy Carroll’s new injury to his heel, there hasn’t been much to smile about for Sam Allardyce and the Chairmen.  However, with the likes of James Tomkins, Jack Collison and more recently, Dan Potts and Ravel Morrison all making the first team squad from the famous West Ham Academy, it may be time for us to utilise the Academy, by bringing in the best of the Development Squad.  But who have we got in the Development Squad, who are likely to make an impact on the first team over the next few seasons?George Moncur seems to be the star of the team at the moment.  The skillful midfielder reminds a little bit like Kevin Nolan, in the way he leads the team, he gets in the box to try and get on the end of things, but what he has which Nolan doesn’t, is the classy skills which he must of inherited from his dad, and former Hammer, John Moncur.  I managed to get to a number of Development Squad games last season, and I intend to go again this season and Moncur always stood out– however, manager Nick Haycock, has indicated that Moncur may be shipped out on loan, in order to play a better standard of football, in a more competitive environment.
Blair Turgott spent most of last season with Bradford City, and got to a Wembley Cup Final, although did not make an appearance himself.  Turgott is a quick and skilful winger, who plays on the right side.  He is creative, and able to beat his man, however, the one thing I notice about Turgott is his slight frame.  I imagine that Turgott will work on this over the next few years, and as he gets older, he will get naturally stronger.  I was impressed with his ability to make things happen, and is a tidy player, who keeps possession.  He also chips in with some goals.  I can see Turgott making another loan move this season to aid his development.
Elliott Lee has made a couple of sub appearances already for the first team, and has made a big impact for the development squad.  Lee can play as a centre forward, although, most of the time I have seen him, he has played as one of the wide players of the front three.  Lee recently scored a hattrick for the development squad against Newcastle United – his dads old team.  With the lack of strikers at the club at present, Lee may see some more first team action before Christmas, something I would welcome as his tenacity, and eye for goal, are traits which the current first team squad lack.
Paul McCallum is a striker in the mould that Allardyce likes.  At 6ft 3in tall, he is a bustling centre forward, hard to shrug off the ball, and good in the air.  McCallum spent some time at AFC Wimbledon last season, and scored some goals.  I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of him around the first team due to his style, and could have been an ideal player to take up the lone striker role for the first team. I hope that Allardyce may start looking a bit closer at him, but I imagine, he is another who will be looking for loan opportunities this year to show Big Sam what he can do.
Danny Whitehead was signed from Stockport County this summer.  An attacking midfielder, with height on his side also, Whitehead will be looking to impress in the Development Squad this season.  He’s only 19 years old, so I’m sure the West Ham coaching staff will be looking at him closely.  Big Sam must have seen some potential in him to actually pay money for him to come to the club, and from the sounds of it, he has been doing a steady job in the middle of the park.
I hope to see these players in or around the first team squad over the course of the season, and I’m sure they may get a look in when it comes to the Cup games.  Let’s hope and pray that we can produce a crop of players as good as Rio, Lampard, Cole, Carrick and Johnson!