West Ham decision left striker’s mum and dad in tears of joy but they could soon be tears of frustration under David Moyes.
Hammers fans will be well aware of some of the talented names coming through the academy right now.
West Ham are the self-styled academy of football but the reality is nowadays it is harder than ever for young starlets to break through into Premier League sides.
The next one on the conveyor belt hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Declan Rice is Callum Marshall.
Marshall has impressed since joining the West Ham’s academy in January from NIFL side Linfield.
The Hammers have been so impressed by Marshall, who has just turned 18, that they decided to offer him his first professional contract.
And the forward realised a dream by signing on the dotted line.
The West Ham decision left the striker’s mum and dad in tears of joy but they could soon be tears of frustration under David Moyes.
Marshall sounds like he really has the bit between his teeth having signed pro terms with the Hammers and wants to kick on.
“Signing my first professional deal with West Ham United feels really good,” the forward told whufc.com.
“It’s something that I’ve been working towards my whole life. Now it’s time for me to push on. I need to keep my foot on the gas and keep going forward…
“I’d been scoring quite a few goals and the Academy organised for my mum and dad to come over. I wasn’t told what it was about, though, just that they wanted to speak to them. I thought it was just to talk about moving up to the U21s.
“We were all brought into a meeting at Chadwell Heath with U18s coach Kevin Keen, and I was told there and then that I was being offered professional terms.
“My mum started crying and even my dad, who doesn’t normally get overly emotional, you could even hear in his voice that he was a bit emotional. It was a special, special moment.”
It is really lovely to hear how much this means to Marshall and his family.
But as all young players will be told, this is where the hard work really begins. Especially at West Ham under Moyes, where young players find it difficult to get a serious shot at cementing their place in the first team.
Moyes has played several West Ham academy stars in dead rubber European games this season and last.
But when it comes to the crunch and games that matter, Moyes has proved he is reluctant – rightly or wrongly – to throw youngsters into the mix.
A good recent example was the cup exit at the hands of a Blackburn reserve side before the break.
Many supporters questioned why the likes of powerful, in-form young England striker Divin Mubama, impressive left-back Ollie Scarles and swashbuckling, pacy right-back Harrison Ashby were not involved in the squad for the Carabao Cup clash given how well they had done just a week before.
A West Ham source, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking to Claret and Hugh recently, slammed the lack of chances given to academy stars.
The insider even questioned whether there is any point having one at all with the likes of Conor Coventry and Ashby being tipped to follow highly-rated young forward Sonny Perkins in leaving the club.
Marshall will have to seriously impress in any chances he may be given over the coming months and years if Moyes remains in the Hammers hotseat.
But even then it may be difficult to break through unless the Scot changes his approach.