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Counting down the top youth prospects for West Ham United: #11 - Marcus Browne

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Can Marcus overcome the injury bug and develop into the stunner we know he can be?

West Ham United v Norwich City: Premier League 2 Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Welcome to the latest series from everyone’s favorite, Brace The Hammer. Over 20 writers ranked 32 youth players (21 and under) for West Ham United. We ranked them by assigning each player a max of 20 points, down to 1. The top 15 averages made our list.

Every day, leading up to the start of the season, we will be bringing to you our top fifteen youth academy prospects for West Ham United. Up next, academy product Marcus Browne.

Origins

What can I say about Marcus Browne, that you can’t find on his Wiki page? Well, he joined West Ham at the age of 8 and has been with the club since, signing his first professional contract in November of 2015. Wait... that’s exactly what’s on his wiki page...

Personally, I think he Marcus has it in him to be a fantastic #10 one day. I was a bit disappointed in my fellow writers for ranking him this low, but considering the field ahead of him, I’ll get over it.

At 19, the ceiling is high for the Londoner. He’s spent his entire scholastic and professional life in East End, with a brief 6 month loan spell at Wigan, where he amassed one appearance. Of course, most of the absence was due to injury.

However, Browne is one of the fortunate few from the Academy who has seen some first team action. Last summer in the Europa League, against Astra Giurgiu, Marcus was a standout in a team that failed to impress. More recently, Marcus has been fighting hard to return from an injury that has held him to just 14 minutes of football since February.

Academic Injuries

We seem to have this conversation a lot. I really hope in ten years we’re not all talking about the type of player Marcus Browne could have been if only he stayed fit. 2013-14 hardly saw Marcus because of a nagging hamstring injury that just wouldn’t kick. Being sidelined for so long at a young age is very taxing mentally, so everyone was delighted to see Browne rage back in 2014 as a regular in the U18s. Watching fellow academy mates Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen, lifted Browne’s spirits, as well as his own performance. The U21 side went on to win the Premier League Cup against Hull City in May. That led to Terry Westley and company rewarding Marcus with his first professional contract in November of 2015.

“I’ve been here for a very long time, since I was eight years old, so this is a proud moment for me.

“This is just the start, so I want to kick on and get more contracts in the future and continue to improve.

“I’m very pleased with how I’ve progressed. I was out for five months last year with a hamstring injury, but I’ve come back well so I’m happy with that and if I just carry on doing when I’m doing and enjoying football I’ll kick on to bigger things.”

Marcus Browne started to become a household name as the start of the 2016 campaign kicked off. Slotted as a number 10, Marcus looked comfortable in distribution, and paired nicely with Toni Martinez. So much so, he earned nomination for PL2 player of the month in December of 2016. The following month, Marcus was given his second professional contract and shipped off to Championship side, Wigan, for the remainder of the season.

Future & Goals

Marcus told the whufc.com after signing his new contract in January of this year:

“I play in the No10 role which is an attacking midfield position. I’m quick, strong and I like to get on the ball and run at defenders.

“When I’ve worked with the gaffer (Slaven Bilic), he has always had a positive impact on me. He speaks to me a lot and encourages me to do the right things and also tells me how to improve. It’s good to have a manager that will talk to you and show his time for you.

The lad has no shortage of confidence, even with the injury setback. If he can come back and stay strong - he can be a real difference maker. Ideally, at 19, he plays another full season under Terry to help aid further in his development. Should a move be on the table, it must be to a team that will help him develop, not keep him on the bench as a number.