Ademipo Odubeko scored a hattrick for the West Ham u23s last night as they battled back from two goals down to defeat Manchester United 3-2.
The Irishman put three past his former club in the second half to give the Hammers a much-needed victory. Going into the match they were second bottom of the Premier League 2 table. They’re now up to 12th in the rankings.
Odubeko continues to shine in the development set-up despite making an underwhelming appearance for the first team in February. The 18-year-old was thrust into the limelight at Old Trafford in our 1-0 FA Cup defeat to the Red Devils, after injuries to Michail Antonio and Andriy Yarmolenko.
But U23s boss Dmitri Halajko is more than happy with the striker’s progress since then. Speaking to the club website, he labelled Odubeko as ‘phenomenal’ for his run of form in the development league
“Mipo’s been a fantastic goalscorer for us,” said Halajko.
“He’s got eight goals now in six games which is phenomenal – more than a goal a game, at this level, for a lad who’s only an u18 in age.”
There is no doubt about it, we’re in a bit of a pickle with regards to striking options at the moment. With Haller gone, and Yarmolenko injured, our only recognised out and out forward was Michail Antonio. He looks set to miss a large chunk of the rest of the season.
At what point do we look to Odubeko again? He’s clearly responding well to his disappointing first-team run out.
In just his second appearance, the teenager came on as a second-half substitute at Old Trafford – the home of the club he left a year prior. He lined up against a full-strength United back-line and struggled to get involved in the game.
David Moyes proceeded to substitute him back off after failing to make an impact. This could have shattered Odubeko’s confidence. Instead, he appears to be responding in the correct manner for the development side.
So, the question is, do we give him another go? He’s certainly one for the future, and should surely feature for the first team when the time is right. But with our current crisis up top, does Moyes hand the teenager his Premier League debut?
For the last seven match-day squads in a row now Odubeko has travelled and made the bench. Moyes is clearly a fan of the youngster, and maybe his time is approaching.
Scoring a hattrick against one of the best academy’s in the world will have done his chances no harm.
In other West Ham news, here are three things to look out for in our clash with Leicester City this weekend.