Nathan Holland’s latest injury setback has concluded his loan spell with Oxford United early, but his return to Stratford will be welcomed by David Moyes for the 2020/21 campaign.
Although West Ham currently find themselves occupied in a relegation scrap, there is no reason Moyes should not be looking into the future; and that future could involve Holland.
The 21-year-old winger has shown promising signs in the early stages of his career, impressing for both West Ham U23’s and his recent loan spell at Oxford, but recently picked up a hamstring injury which concluded his 2019/20 season.
The Hammers are hardly blessed with an array of attacking talent; the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko failing to perform this season has been one of the damaging factors to the club’s 2019/20 campaign.
But does Holland have the quality to push aside big-money signings and make that spot his own? In Oxford’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Premier League outfit Newcastle United, Holland did not look a smudge out of place – complemented by his last-minute wonder-strike that took proceedings to extra-time.
Pace, direct, quick feet – all the attributes you want your winger to possess, and Holland has all in abundance. Granted he is still at the developing stages of his career, but regular, first-team action against Premier League opposition is what he needs to propel and kickstart his career; let’s hope that is in east London next season.
The 21-year-old started his journey coming through Everton’s youth setup before moving to West Ham in 2017, joining the U23’s. This season is where he started to make his mark, netting 12 times and registering seven assists in 13 Premier League 2 appearances.
Back in December 2019, Holland was called up to the first-team under Manuel Pellegrini and was gifted his Premier League debut after featuring as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 defeat to Wolves.
Holland then appeared as a substitute against Arsenal in the following Premier League fixture, but that was the last we would see of the youngster before moving to Oxford on loan in the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old’s latest injury setback is a devastating blow, for sure, but there is no reason he cannot be filled with optimism heading into the 2020/21 campaign. He possesses all the credentials to become an exceptional talent in the Premier League; whether Moyes will give him a chance in the first-team remains to be seen, but it is time to take a chance on youth – you only need to look at Declan Rice to see how it can turn out.