West Ham host AEK Larnaca in the Europa Conference League this evening and David Moyes must take the opportunity to hand some of the Hammers’ most promising academy talents some minutes.
Should Moyes rest players against AEK Larnaca?
Last week saw West Ham triumph 2-0 in Cyprus thanks to a brace from Michail Antonio and even when taking into account the Hammers’ woeful Premier League form, they should have too much for their opposition on Thursday.
Therefore, with a 2-0 aggregate lead, it seems the perfect chance to rest first-team players and give some of the younger players at the London Stadium an opportunity to feature in Europe.
Although there will no doubt be a clamour from fans to start Divin Mubama as a result of his phenomenal form in the U21s, the striker is behind the likes of Antonio, Danny Ings and Gianluca Scamacca in the pecking order, with the latter in desperate need of minutes and a confidence boost.
Instead, the former Manchester United boss should look towards 18-year-old midfielder George Earthy, in the hope that he can provide a creative spark for the goal-shy Hammers.
Who is George Earthy?
The teenage attacking midfielder was handed his first professional contract at West Ham ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, following a phenomenal season with the U18s which included 11 goals from 26 games.
He has continued that fine form in Kevin Keen’s side so far this term, registering a hugely impressive four goals and eight assists in just nine U18s league appearances, which suggests that he is more than ready for the step-up.
Earthy also boasts two goals in 18 appearances for the U21s this season and his rapid progression through the age groups at West Ham suggests that it won’t be long until he is knocking on the first team door.
The teenager’s assist record this season certainly backs up his own claim of being a “creative” player, and he could be exactly what Moyes needs in the long term, given how much the Hammers have struggled in the final third so far this campaign.
A return of just 24 goals in the top flight is one of the main reasons for West Ham’s struggles towards the bottom of the league, while Said Benrahma leads the way for assists in Moyes’ squad with only three to his name, which indicates that the Hammers are in need of some consistent quality in attacking areas.
Therefore, with this arguably the last low-pressure game in West Ham’s season, Moyes should hand Earthy his first-team debut at the London Stadium this evening.