Conor Coventry got some first-team minutes under his belt in West Ham’s 2-0 win over Newport County. The young midfielder made his second appearance for the Hammers after featuring at this stage of the EFL Cup last season too.
Coventry is a highly-rated young player and he is seen as a future star in the first-team. It is clear how highly Manuel Pellegrini rates the teenager because he has been involved with the first-team on several occasions.
Conor Coventry must learn from his minor mistake
But Coventry’s eight-minute cameo served as a timely wake-up call for senior football. Late in the game, the 19-year-old was dispossessed on the edge of the Hammers box and Josh Sheehan hit the bar for the hosts.
It was a potentially costly error with Newport aiming to make the final few minutes tense for West Ham. But Coventry escaped without costing a goal and this will help him learn for the future.
Any first-team experience he picks up, including that error, will be part of his learning curve. The Republic of Ireland U21 starlet was introduced to the physicality and speed of the senior game; he would have had more time on the edge of his box in U23 football.
Conor Coventry: Third in line?
West Ham might need Coventry at some point this season. The combative midfielder is third in line to play in the holding midfield role. This is an area that Pellegrini perhaps should have strengthened but Coventry could get his chance instead.
Declan Rice is the undisputed defensive midfielder in the Irons’ starting line-up. Carlos Sanchez’s performance against Newport sealed his spot as the first reserve. And then Coventry is the next in line.
If there is an injury to Rice or Sanchez, Coventry will surely be promoted to the bench. Therefore, it is important that Pellegrini gives him a taste of first-team football where possible. He might be needed later down the line and West Ham need him to be ready.