West Ham got a good look at depth players and young prospects in their international break friendly with neighbour Dagenham and Redbridge FC in a fundraiser night for the club…erm I should specify their club. With senior players making most of the big headlines like Michail Antonio scoring a brace and Adrian making some phenomenal saves, some youngsters did turn heads in the match, most notably Alfie Lewis.
Named to the starting squad Lewis, occupied the midfield alongside Mark Noble and really took the lead in that part of the pitch.
“West Ham, unsurprisingly, controlled possession for the majority of the opening half, but the identity of their standout performer would certainly have been a shock to the thousands of Hammers fans inside the ground – Alfie Lewis.”
Alfie Lewis was described by the club’s own recount of the match as the “standout performer” most likely because he didn’t instantly pass the ball back to his defenders. But in all honesty, his name was said more than anyone else’s, he commanded play, was always an option in the middle of the field, and held onto the ball even under pressure. It was a low-league friendly, I know, but he was a star on the pitch surrounded by a lot of first team players who failed to look anything special.
So who is the lad?
Currently 18 years old, Alfie Lewis is a versatile midfielder that is based centrally but can play both defensive and attacking mid. He signed his first pro deal in May of 2017, a three year contract that has him at West Ham until 2020. He has played in ten total games this season, three Premier League 2 games where he failed to appear on the score sheet, and seven for West Ham’s under-18 Premier League side where he has one goal and one assist.
Should he get a chance?
Should he and will he are two different things. Should he – absolutely! West Ham are desperate for ball moving midfielders to solidify what looks like a hollow formation most games. He showed he is up for it in his one chance with the big club, so why not?
Will he? Probably not, no. Moyes has stuck with Cheikhou Kouyate in midfield despite awful performances, even when Josh Cullen a recent graduate of West Ham’s academy looked good in his return from loan. Cullen and Rice would likely get picked over him, not to mention Joao Mario who the club seem keen on buying amidst his loan from Inter Milan. Marcus Browne, another academy graduate has also been selected to the bench after performing well for the PL2 team after injury this year.
Alfie most likely won’t make an appearance any time soon for West Ham, but he is a promising prospect and still has time to come into his own. He’s only 18 and will build confidence off of this one performance. He will likely feature more so in the academy games to allow for management to get a better look at him after his showing at Dag & Red this week.
I know, I know, it was a friendly against lesser opposition and I will take the performance with a grain of salt. Something that can’t be overlooked was the Dagenham player’s ability to push and attitude in the game – they wanted to win. They set up strong, countered well, and scored off of a relentless attack coming from a corner.
I’d love to see a midfield featuring Lewis, Rice and Cullen to be honest. They are three young players who would give 110% on the pitch, not yet spoiled by insane Premier League wages, looking to cut their teeth in the league. It’s promising from Alfie – his performance was something West Ham have been missing all season.