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West Ham United Hand Seven Academy Players Their Debuts In Europa League Clash

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West Ham United Hand Seven Academy Players Their Debuts In Europa League Clash

It was a proud night for West Ham United in what is becoming another memorable season, after handing seven academy players their first-team debuts in their Europa League clash against Dinamo Zagreb.

The Hammers were beaten 1-0 on the night by Dinamo Zagreb thanks to Mislav Orsic's strike, but were already guaranteed top spot in their group and safe passage into the knockout stages, prompting David Moyes to make wholesale changes to his side.


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Ajibola Alese, Jamal Baptiste, Harrison Ashby, Emmanuel Longelo and Sonny Perkins all made their debuts from the starting line-up, while Freddie Potts and Keenan Forson were introduced from the bench.

The Athletic reports that Moyes has now given 12 players their first-team debuts since returning to the club in December 2019, with Dan Chesters, Nathan Trott, Oladapo Afolayan, Mipo Odubeko and Jeremy Ngakia all getting their first outings in a Hammers shirt under the Scotsman.

PA: David Moyes
PA: David Moyes

Moyes was full of praise for the latest batch of young players that made their bows, and told whufc.com: "I think the young players were the ones who came out with the most credit.

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"It's great for the Academy because over the years West Ham have always produced players.

"What these players need to do now is use it as a stepping-stone to see if they can step up to the next level, which is pushing the first-team players and challenging them.

"When their opportunities come, they've got to take them in the first team."

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The east Londoners will continue their Europa League journey in March when the last-16 fixtures are due to take place, but focus now turns back to the Premier League.

Moyes' side travel to Turf Moor on Sunday for a match away at Burnley, looking to build on an impressive 3-2 win over Chelsea last time out.

The Hammers currently sit fourth in the table with 27 points from 15 games.

Topics: Europa League, Premier League, West Ham United, David Moyes

James Hilsum
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