WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
27%
  
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
10%
  
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
6%
  
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
36%
  
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done
21%
  



Irish Hammer 3:34 Wed Jul 28
Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
West Ham’s pre-season so far: Oko-Flex, Baptiste and Nevers on the up but work to do for Fredericks, Holland and Odubeko


West Ham United have made a promising start to pre-season, and although they are yet to make any first-team signings, supporters will be encouraged with the performances of several players.

Said Benrahma appears to be back to his menacing best, Jamal Baptiste continues to draw comparisons with Rio Ferdinand and young forward Thierry Nevers, who joined the under-23 side from Reading, has adapted seamlessly to life at his new club.

As the players increase their fitness levels before their league opener against Newcastle United on August 15, The Athletic has a look at who has impressed and who has work to do this season.

On the rise

Jarrod Bowen

Bowen’s name in this section will not come as a surprise. The 24-year-old has started in fine form having scored two goals and registering two assists in four appearances.

Last season he amassed eight goals in 38 league games — and a player of Bowen’s ability should be eyeing double figures this time around. If the winger maintains his form, he could have an outside chance of forcing his way into the England squad.

Despite reports linking Bowen with a switch to Liverpool, West Ham’s stance is firm: Bowen is not for sale and they have not yet received any approaches for the winger. Bowen’s deal runs until 2025 and he looks set to play a key role in the club’s Europa League campaign.

Said Benrahma

Benrahma’s performances polarised opinion among the fanbase last season but in the pre-season games against Reading and Celtic, he is showing signs of the form that earned him his move from Brentford.

In the 6-2 win at Celtic Park on Saturday, the 25-year-old ruthlessly sold defender Dane Murray a dummy before nonchalantly slotting the ball past Scott Bain. The blonde hair has returned and so too have the flamboyant skills.


Against Reading, Benrahma caught the eye when he was brought on at half-time and was a constant threat down the left flank. In May’s 2-1 win at Turf Moor, the Algerian was Burnley’s chief tormentor and it is these types of performances Benrahma needs to produce on a regular basis.

He is mounting a strong case to feature in manager David Moyes’ starting XI and providing he reprises similar performances against Brentford and Atalanta, it would be hard to picture another player starting on the left flank come the first day of the season.

Armstrong Oko-Flex

Little was known about the 19-year-old barring his spells at Arsenal and Celtic’s youth teams but following his arrival this summer he has impressed and could be fast-tracked from the under-23s to the first team squad.

He scored in the emphatic win at Celtic and started the pre-season games at Leyton Orient and Reading. In the under-23s’ 2-1 loss at Crawley Town, Oko-Flex played as a lone striker and showed great work rate off the ball.

When Nevers was brought on, Oko-Flex switched to the left flank and constantly threaded crosses into the box. The winger has acknowledged he needs to work on his end product but it is encouraging that he finds himself in good positions. He has pace and never shies away from asking for the ball.

Ben Johnson

Johnson’s best game last season was the 3-0 win over Sheffield United where he was applauded off the field by his team-mates. It has been hard for the versatile defender to force his way into the team due to Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal’s form but Johnson has started pre-season in fine fashion.

Against Reading, the full-back scored a superb solo goal having dribbled past four players. Squad depth will be key to West Ham’s success this season and it helps that Moyes will be able to call upon a young defender like Johnson who can play at left-back or right-back.


Jamal Baptiste

Baptiste has always been highly rated by staff behind the scenes at West Ham — and it is his dedication to honing his craft that sets him apart. This summer, the 17-year-old has worked on improving his aerial ability alongside former West Ham trainee Sam Westley.

Baptiste’s hard work has paid off having scored headers against Dundee and Southend United. He narrowly came close to scoring from a set-piece in the under-23s’ 2-1 defeat at Ebbsfleet United.

There have been comparisons to Ferdinand and Reece Oxford but the attention does not get to Baptiste, who is only focused on scoring more goals and learning from Angelo Ogbonna, Craig Dawson and Issa Diop.

Baptiste’s decision-making has also improved. When the under-18s faced Arsenal in April, the centre-back was sent off for fouling Omari Hutchinson as he charged the penalty area. A similar scenario presented itself on Monday night during the under-23s game against Crawley Town. This time, it was Tom Nichols who was through on goal but on this occasion, Baptiste timed his challenge to perfection and made a brilliant last-ditch tackle.

The young defender made his first-team debut in the FA Cup win against Doncaster Rovers in January and will be targeting more first-team appearances in the forthcoming campaign.

Conor Coventry

Coventry produced a man of the match performance against Reading. He was composed on the ball and comfortable receiving passes in tight spaces. The midfielder also scored in the 2-1 win at Northampton Town.

He has not featured in any of the under-23s’ pre-season games thus far as he aims to convince Moyes he deserves to be involved with the first team. Although the 21-year-old midfielder would be behind Declan Rice, Mark Noble and Tomas Soucek in the pecking order, Coventry has caught the eye and being the fourth option would prevent the club from unnecessarily signing another player in that position.

Thierry Nevers

The 19-year-old has scored three goals in three appearances since joining from Reading this summer. Michail Antonio and Mipo Odubeko are the only other recognised forwards at the club, but if Nevers maintains his form he could feature in Moyes’ plans in the not too distant future.

Against Crawley on Monday, he could have scored a hat-trick rather than just the one goal, having spurned two brilliant opportunities but he still looks to have something that will benefit Moyes’ squad.

Out of the picture…

Mipo Odubeko

It was against Southend United last season where Odubeko scored twice and impressed Moyes. He continued to score goals for the under-23s but has been unable to reprise that form for the first-team.

This is set to be a huge season for the 18-year-old but he was not in the squad for the win at Celtic or Crawley. Odubeko is not believed to be injured and the uncertainty surrounding his future is fuelled by the fact he is entering the final year of his contract.

Xande Silva

The 24-year-old needs to be playing regularly and it appears fanciful that he will force his way into Moyes’ plans.

Last term, a loan spell at Greek side Aris Thessaloniki yielded mixed results and with Silva’s contract set to expire next summer, the striker could leave in search of first-team opportunities elsewhere.

The goalless draw at Leyton Orient is the only game Silva has played under Moyes during pre-season. A new start is surely on the cards?

Work to do…

Nathan Holland

Holland started the pre-season friendlies against Dundee and Northampton and has had interest from Championship and League One sides. The 23-year-old needs to be playing regularly and he showed glimpses of his talent during his loan spell at Oxford United last season. Similar to Odubeko, the winger was not in the squad against Crawley and another loan move could be on the cards.

Ryan Fredericks

Fredericks has pace and has improved his final pass but he needs to produce more consistent performances. There is competition for the back-up right spot at West Ham, with Johnson and Harrison Ashby also waiting in the wings for an opportunity to deputise when first-choice Coufal is unavailable.

Fredericks could have defended better when Ryan Christie raced across him to score Celtic’s second goal on Saturday — those are the lapses in concentration that are a concern.

Frederik Alves

Alves is yet to play a competitive game for West Ham since joining from Danish side Silkeborg in January. He started the 3-0 win against Reading and did nothing wrong but it is unlikely he will dislodge the likes of Dawson, Ogbonna and Diop at centre-back.

The 21-year-old would be better suited to going out on loan and gaining more first-team experience.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Irish Hammer 4:56 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Thanks lads.

Thanks Irish 2:36 Thu Jul 29

This is my second most finest hour on WHO. Only beaten by my legendary Bouncy Happy GRRR thread

😊

the exile 4:33 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Cheers Irish - good piece. Really sorry to hear you're I'll - wishing you all the best.

I would agree with just about all of that. Perhaps a bit harsh on Alves and a little generous to Okoflex, from what I have seen. Any idea what has happened to Alese?

chim chim cha boo 4:09 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Jesus Irish I just read about your brain cancer on the anxiety thread. Thank you so much for these articles and I genuinely wish you well mate. It's fair to say that I am absolutely gutted.

Don't you dare leave us mate x

Thanks Irish 2:36 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Thanks

Mex Martillo 12:22 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Thanks Irish
Would be nice if a couple of the youngsters come good.

WHUDeano 12:49 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Fredericks is 28 years old.

Irish Hammer 12:46 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
gph 12:42 Thu Jul 29

Yep, and we defend the treble with ‘Arry put in piano for corruption as an added bonus.

gph 12:42 Thu Jul 29
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Massive acceleration forwards in time.

If this carries on, the next article you paste will be a review of season 29-30, Pasted next week.

;-)

LeroysBoots 6:46 Wed Jul 28
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Very harsh on Alves

Has been as competent as Dawson for sure

Alfs 6:22 Wed Jul 28
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
There have been comparisons to Ferdinand and Reece Oxford but the attention does not get to Baptiste.

Let's pray it's not the latter that he emulates.

Vexed 3:51 Wed Jul 28
Re: Article covering our players in PreSeason so far
Cheers you Irish cunt!





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