Rio Ferdinand criticised West Ham’s youth setup over the past 20 years, when speaking exclusively to Robbie Savage on the Welshman’s BBC podcast ‘Savage Social’.
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The Hammers made a name for themselves in the late 90’s, bringing through a whole host of talented youngsters.
East London is a breeding ground for talented young players, and West Ham took full advantage.
The Hammers developed the likes of Rio himself, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michal Carrick and Jermain Defoe.
When all of those names left Upton Park, however, West Ham struggled to replicate that success regarding developing future stars of the game.
Ferdinand knows where Hammers need to do better
And Ferdinand told BBC’s Savage Social podcast how his former club are missing a trick:
“That’s all you want to hear as a young kid, that you are going to have a chance to get in the first team and be at the forefront of it. Frank Lampard is one year older than me, his age group started to come through first after that commitment and maybe that’s what West Ham need now. I don’t see that there at the moment. Declan Rice has come through, yes, but there’s not enough. West Ham are in an area that is a hotbed for talent, it is a ridiculous area for talent, but all of these kids are going elsewhere, to other parts of London or the UK. It shouldn’t happen. They should be pulling back and making a real effort, I think.”
Ferdinand is perhaps being a harsh, however.
The Hammers have brought through Declan Rice, Grady Diangana and Jeremy Ngakia over the past two years.
They also gave promising youngster Reece Oxford the chance to shine. But that one obviously didn’t work out.
If Rice stays and Diangana and Ngakia go on to fulfil their true potential, West Ham will have the nucleus of a very, very strong side.
It just remains to be seen whether or not David Moyes is prepared to place his full trust in the youngsters.