Since Sam Allarydce took the West Ham job four years ago he has regularly been criticised for not giving youth a chance.

There have been several occasions, particularly during spells with several injuries, where Allardyce has decided against handing playing time to youngsters performing well for the Development Squad.

But Allardyce insists he just hasn’t had the opportunity to hand youngsters a proper opportunity to impress in the first team during his Hammers tenure.

He said: “It is always difficult for me.

“If we were in a better position with our results it would have been a good thing to look at the odd player.

“But the pressure with us at the moment to get results means it would be difficult for me to do.”

The likes of Elliot Lee, George Moncur, Reece Burke, Dean Whitehead and Leo Chambers are just a few names who have impressed for the Development squad in recent years.

But each of them haven’t been offered the chance to perform for the first team regularly, with some even opting to move on in search of first team football in the football league.

Allardyce did throw a load of youngsters in to the Hammers’ FA Cup third round meeting with Nottingham Forest last season – after fans were calling for him to hand the youth some more game time – and saw his second string side get humiliated in a 5-0 defeat.

And it was that result that Allardyce hints is the reason why he can never truly get the balance right between bringing through youth and maintaining squad strength without the fans criticising him.

“If you put a youngster in and lose you get criticised, the youngster might get criticised, so it is difficult,” he added.

“Or play all your youngsters in the FA Cup and get slaughtered for it. You say ‘we don’t give youngsters a chance’ but you give them a chance, lose, and get slaughtered for it.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it.”