With things having calmed somewhat at West Ham after an awful start to the season, on and off the pitch, and the trouble they endured in January surrounding the departure of their star man, Dimitri Payet, fans can begin to sit back a little and take a look at events outside of the first team’s troubles.
With no FA Cup or European football to speak of over the weekend or week to come, the Hammers have flown off to Dubai for some mid-season warm weather training, despite the fact it is forecast to rain for their entire trip.
With nothing for fans to watch in terms of the first team, attention may well turn to the young players in the West Ham ranks. The club, labelled the ‘Academy of Football’, have always taken pride in the players they bring through the ranks, with names like current club captain Mark Noble and former stars Joe Cole and Michael Carrick coming to mind.
The development squad will be taking to the pitch at the London Stadium for the first time when they host Fulham on Monday night. The youngsters, who have played all their games at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Chigwell Construction Stadium so far this season, go into the first of three games at the new ground off the back of a 3-0 over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League Cup.
With captain Noble the last player to really make an impact on the first team having come through the academy, fans in Stratford will be desperate to see another they can back from the youth ranks all the way to being a regular first teamer.
One to watch for Hammers fans on Monday and over the coming years is 17-year-old midfielder, Domingos Quina who joined the club last summer, being snatched from London rivals Chelsea.
The tricky midfielder was given a couple of chances in the early stages of the season by manager Slaven Bilic, who handed him game time in the Europa League qualifiers, as well as the London Stadium curtain raiser against Juventus.
A slight figure, at just 5ft 6in, the former Benfica youngster relies on his low centre of gravity, silky footwork and speed to find space and create chances, the polar opposite of his father Samuel Quina, a no-nonsense defender who represented Portugal at international level.
There is a significant amount of hype surrounding the youngster, who helped Portugal to the under 17s European Championship title earlier in the summer, and he is already on the radar of England who believe he would be keen on representing the Three Lions.
With the gaze away from the first team for a little while, West Ham fans should take the time to head to the London Stadium and cast their eye over a youngster who could well go on to be a big name in east London over the next few seasons given what could happen when you pair his genetics and natural talent with the development record of the Hammers’ academy – the sky is the limit!