West Ham defender Goncalo Cardoso produced an impressive display for the U23 team once again.
The young centre-back joined in the summer from Boavista and there was some talk that he was ready for the first-team. But he has only featured in a matchday squad once; he was an unused substitute in the EFL Cup loss against Oxford United.
West Ham U23s are flying high this season while the senior squad have had a stop-start campaign. With the first-team currently leaking goals, is it time for Cardoso to earn a promotion?
Goncalo Cardoso on the clean sheet
West Ham U23 manager Dmitri Halajko was delighted with the defensive performance on Monday night. The young Hammers kept a clean sheet and beat Stoke City 4-0 at the bet365 Stadium.
While Stoke played some experienced players, West Ham’s defence was inexperienced. Cardoso featured alongside Sam Caiger (naturally a right-back) in central defence with Bernardo Rosa and Emmanuel Longelo (midfielders) on either side.
Cardoso helped to carry West Ham’s defence through this game and Halajko praised the defensive unit for “learning really fast and developing really well” (whufc.com).
After the game, Cardoso added his thoughts. The 19-year-old told the club’s official website: “The clean sheet was pleasing of course for all the team, but especially for the defence, because you always want to keep one.”
Goncalo Cardoso pushing for promotion?
Cardoso is making an early impression at West Ham – even if it is not in the first-team. The Portugal U19 starlet is certainly showing why Manuel Pellegrini thought he could be the fourth-choice centre-back at the club.
But is it time he was promoted to the first-team? Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna have been Pellegrini’s preferred centre-halves this season and both have been impressive. Fabian Balbuena provides back-up and his experience probably puts him ahead of Cardoso.
Pellegrini lets Cardoso train with the first-team regularly so he will have a good idea of how ready he is. The Hammers teenager might not get a first-team chance just yet – especially now the EFL Cup run is over – but he continues to impress while he waits.