Academy & Under 18s
New signing Xande Silva has hit the ground running with the U23s in the Premier League 2, but who is he and what can we expect from him in the future?
Like most West Ham fans I had never heard of Xande Silva when he signed for the club, yet his performances so far this season for Liam Manning’s U23 side have got people talking about the young Portuguese forward.
The 21 year old was signed in August from Vitória Guimarães for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for his former side in 2015 going on to make 26 appearances in the Portuguese first division the Primeria Liga scoring one goal. He has represented Portugal at every level from U15s to U20s featuring in the under-17 Euros, under-19 Euros and the U20 World Cup.
Silva announced his arrival in the Premier League 2 by scoring a stunning six-minute hattrick against Tottenham on his debut for the club. Since then he has been a regular starter up front for Manning’s U23 side. He followed on from his outstanding debut with goals against Manchester City and Arsenal as well as leading the line in a 2-1 win against Liverpool.
Silva’s performances would not have gone unnoticed by Manuel Pellegrini and the first team staff. While it is probably fair to say we are pretty well stocked with strikers at the moment with Arnautovic, Hernandez, Carroll and Perez, at just 21 years of age and signing a long term contract with the club Silva is more of a project for the future rather than one for the present.
The question that Silva will have to answer is how does he differ from other highly rated youth players such as Toni Martinez, Domingos Quina and Sead Haskabanovic who have performed well for the U23s but have so far failed to make their mark on the first team.
While it would he unfair to expect Silva to be at the level needed for the Premier League straight away, his stellar CV backed up by his impressive performances for the U23s suggest that he will continue progressing and, fingers crossed, will go on to be the latest Academy of Football success story.