West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has decided on a 23-man squad to travel to China. The Hammers are preparing for the Asia Trophy in China and 23 players will travel to the Far East.
Pellegrini’s squad includes three goalkeepers and 20 outfield players. There are several notable absentees, including internationals Pablo Fornals, Fabian Balbuena and Arthur Masuaku.
There are other interesting omissions, such as Reece Oxford, Nathan Holland and Jordan Hugill. But here are five players who need to use their China inclusion to stake a first-team claim for next season.
Josh Cullen has returned from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic. He became a fan favourite at The Valley, playing 32 games and providing a match-winning assist in the play-off final.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder will be given pre-season to impress Pellegrini. West Ham need a back-up holding midfielder and Cullen, 23, could save millions if he proves he is good enough.
Grady Diangana only made his West Ham debut last season but his two-goal performance against Macclesfield Town set up his first-team platform. The England U20 starlet went on to play over 20 times for West Ham’s first-team, including 17 in the Premier League.
The left-footed attacking midfielder has shown glimpses of his talent but needs to kick on. The 21-year-old now needs to prove why he should be kept in the first-team picture next season.
Versatile full-back Ben Johnson also made his West Ham debut last season. The teenager became the first player born in the 21st century to play for West Ham in the Premier League.
Johnson was thrown into the deep end against Manchester City away. The 19-year-old held his own as he played just over an hour before limping off. Can he show Pellegrini he is ready for more chances next season?
After such a lengthy absence through injury, Winston Reid is back in the West Ham squad. The New Zealand defender has not played a game since March 2018 so he might be rusty.
Reid is likely to be West Ham’s fourth-choice centre-back next season. But with Balbuena still on holiday, Reid needs to seize his chance to impress.
West Ham midfielders Pedro Obiang and Carlos Sanchez could both leave this summer. It seems Pellegrini is not quite satisfied with either player and another holding midfielder is on the Hammers’ wishlist.
Sanchez is now getting older and missed most of last season through injury. The 33-year-old Colombian needs to show Pellegrini he is not past his best.