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, one of the Thame Twins Reece Burke.
Reece joined the academy at the age of nine and has been with us ever since. He is a versatile defender who can play right back but prefers to play central. He has been in and around the first team for a couple of years now but has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bradford and Wigan. He’s currently on loan at Bolton with another Hammer Josh Cullen.
Burke made his West Ham first team debut in 2014 in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest. He’s also played for the first team in the League Cup, Premier League, and in our Europa League qualifiers. His moment of glory for West Ham so far is securing the MarathonBet Cup for West Ham with his late winner vs. SC Sampdoria.
On loan Burke excelled at Bradford sweeping their awards that season. He made 36 appearances scored two goals and had an assist. Last season at Wigan was less successful for Burke, he totaled only ten appearances for the club.
Burke currently is on loan at Bolton where he has already made his first appearance for Wanderers. He and Josh Cullen should both get plenty of playing time at Bolton and be able to develop as players.
His academy days are long behind him as he has spent the past two seasons on loan and won’t be in the academy when he returns after his loan spell.
If he were in the squad Burke would likely be the fifth or sixth center back behind Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Jose Fonte, James Collins, and maybe Reece Oxford. I would have preferred to never has signed Fonte and allowed Burke or Oxford to be in and around our first team but I’m not the manager.
Burke is very talented and his versatility is useful for us. As long as he comes through his loan without major injury and plays well Burke is going to be in the first team next season.
Reeces Burke and Oxford will be battling with Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid for spots in the starting XI next season. I love James Collins but I think this is his last season playing in the claret and blue. Jose Fonte should be offloaded sooner rather than later. Which will give the Thames Twins the chance to be our third and forth center backs. Both have played in the first team already and impressed next year will be time to turn them loose.