West Ham manager Slaven Bilic ready to reward youth


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West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says he is ready to give some of the club’s younger prospects an opportunity to break into the first team next season.

The Croatian has plenty of work to do with his Hammers squad over the summer and next season as they attempt to improve on a poor 2016-17 campaign.

West Ham’s move to the London Stadium appeared to have a detrimental effect on the squad in the first half of the term, and although they ended up finishing 11th, Bilic will be keen to see them build on that next season.

Bilic has already put his faith in youth during his time at the helm with no less than 11 academy graduates make their first-team debuts since his appointment in 2015.

The likes of Josh Cullen, Reece Burke, Toni Martinez, Declan Rice, Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina are all players hoping to establish themselves in the first-team frame.

West Ham, who are priced at 9.00 to be relegated in 2017-18, have a history of developing academy products into senior players and Bilic insists the opportunity will be their if they are ready to seize it.

Bilic said: “For me, they all have a future, although we have three centre-backs, so it’s going to be hard for them all to knock on the door and play for West Ham very, very soon.

“It’s up to them. They’ve been training with us and now it’s about time for them to play.”

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