Sam Allardyce has his enemies in the Boleyn Ground stands. And a lot of fans have a particular gripe with the gaffer’s reluctance to play any new young players rising through the famous West Ham United Academy.
But one player who has flitted in and out of first team squads in the claret and blue has been young Daniel Potts. Son of West Ham legend Steve Potts the youngster made his debut for the club in 2011, against Barnsley in a 1-0 victory, but after a series of appearances following his first game for the club, the left back was left out of the first eleven and since then has found game time at West Ham hard to come by.
Since the club’s promotion to the Premier League, it has been down to George McCartney, Razvan Rat and even Joey O’Brien – usually deployed at right back – to stake a claim for the left back berth in the team. But are these players better than young Potts? Well Rat and McCartney are certainly more experienced and that is a trait that Allardyce appears to value more than most.
Rat has certainly been a good signing since his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk this summer, and McCartney despite his injury problems has put in 100 per cent in every game for West Ham United. Whilst Potts is away at Portsmouth on loan it is vital he learns from the experience and comes back to the Boleyn Ground full of confidence. Often the loan system has let the club down with players coming back no better than they left but with match experience Potts will find the experience invaluable.
The story of Potts is one that would warm even the coldest hearts as at the tender age of 12 the boy was diagnosed with a lifethreatening bout of leukaemia, and at 16 Potts was given the all clear. So for the son of Steve to appear for the same club his father played for over 500 times was something special, but it should definitely just be the start of Potts’ West Ham United career. Big Sam has let go of some of the club’s biggest prospects in recent years and has so far not been too wrong with his decisions, as none of the young players allowed to leave have gone on to play in the Premier League since.
But with Daniel Potts there is a player the club must be patient with, he deserves time, as he can go on to be one of the club’s best defenders of recent years. So Potts is off at Pompey, and the Hammers are unsure of their best option at left back. With O’Brien, McCartney and Rat playing there in recent weeks, I would not be surprised to see young Potts arrive back from his loan spell a more confident and stronger player, the youngster should become a stalwart for West Ham United in coming years if we keep the faith.