West Ham U23s squad announcement for game against Crystal Palace drops huge hint that five young stars will start Europa League game against Dinamo Zagreb.
The Hammers sailed through their Europa League group with a game to spare.
West Ham effectively earned themselves a four-month break from European games by finishing top of Group H.
It meant David Moyes’s side have the luxury of a dead rubber against Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb before the last 16 knockouts get underway in March.
And given that injuries are starting to pile up for West Ham, Moyes is expected to name a very young side when Zagreb come to the London Stadium on Thursday night.
West Ham’s Under 23s development squad face Crystal Palace this afternoon.
West Ham U23s squad announcement drops huge hint that five young stars will start against Dinamo Zagreb
The club has announced Mark Robson’s squad for the game. And it drops a huge hint that a quintet of young stars will start against Zagreb.
Right-back Harrison Ashby, centre-backs Jamal Baptiste and Aji Alese, left-back Manny Longelo and striker Sonny Perkins have all been omitted from the U23s squad.
That is surely a big indicator that they will be involved – likely from the start – for West Ham’s first team against Zagreb.
There are perhaps two surprises, though. Many supporters felt that midfield ace Dan Chesters – who made his Hammers debut at the end of the Europa home win over Genk – and in-form Armstrong Oko-Flex would also be involved with the first team for the game.
But it may be that those two will find themselves involved from the bench for the game with the club feeling they can play today and recover in time to play some part on Thursday.
It is a rare luxury for Moyes to be able to take a look at West Ham’s academy stars in a proper competitive match.
And it may go some way to shaping the career path of some of the young stars.