Any West Ham fan will tell you that there seems to be a shortage of goals in attack at the moment.
Summer signing Javier Hernandez has netted three times since the beginning of the season while the likes of Andre Ayew, Diafra Sakho and Michail Antonio have also found the net at some point, but there simply isn’t enough goals to really constitute a successful start to the campaign.
However, in the Development Squad, there’s a young striker continuously finding the onion bag with relative ease – that man is Toni Martinez.
The youngster bagged a PL2 hat-trick in a 4-2 victory over Manchester United at London Stadium on Sunday, which had Hammers fans across the globe demanding that he finally gets his chance for the first team in the coming weeks.
The Spaniard first hit the headlines last season when he began his West Ham career with a shedload of goals for the Development Squad, earning a loan move to Oxford United. At Oxford he found the net on a number of occasions and did just enough to warrant a chance in the first team, but that chance never came along.
This season has started much the same, with Martinez scoring goals for fun and telling his Twitter followers that he is always working hard on his game in training. It’s his perfect attitude and impressive performances that have led to the Hammers faithful already worshipping him before even making a first team appearance.
Andy Carroll’s recent red card against Burnley certainly opens up a place in the squad for Martinez in the Premier League home tie with Brighton on Friday night, although it is expected that Slaven Bilic will turn to previously out-of-favour forward Diafra Sakho instead.
Chicharito’s minimal impact in front of goal since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer is a serious worry, although it would be unfair to heap too much criticism on him given he has spent much of his minutes out of position so far this term.
However, with Premier League odds still favouring West Ham to be relegated this season it’s time Slaven Bilic looked to the form players at the training ground and handed them a chance to shine on the big stage. Sometimes gambling on such team selections can pay dividends.
Martinez is one of those players who absolutely deserves his chance. He, alongside fellow youngsters Nathan Holland, Sead Haksabanovic and Martin Samuelsen, will be has been a consistent shining light in the shadows of the West Ham first team and if they continue to be ignore by Slaven Bilic, it won’t be long before other clubs come along and snap them up.
We’ve already seen the likes of Reece Oxford lose ground in his rise from inexperienced teenager to potential wonderkid because of Bilic’s relectance to show a little faith in his ability and the last thing the club needs is a handful of other young stars to slip through the net and go on to succeed elsewhere, or never fulfil their potential as a result.
If Bilic really wants to earn a new contract at West Ham this summer, picking Martinez may just be the decision that keeps him in East London for a few more years.