Two Senior West Ham Players Get U21 Runout in Cup Action

West Ham centre-back Craig Dawson. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
West Ham centre-back Craig Dawson. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /

In a surprise bit of news, West Ham is providing two senior players with a chance for match time at the under-21s have Cup action this evening.

It isn’t every day that your U21s get a chance for glory in the chase for the Papa Johns Trophy, but West Ham are clearly committed to getting a result as the players made available to the U21s team are… well not under 21 in large part.

The two names that jump off the team sheet are Craig Dawson and Andriy Yarmolenko. After getting over the first laugh of Premier League veteran Dawson and previous Champions League regular Yarmolenko lacing their boots in the provided changing room, it does make sense.

Dawson, since his loan signing from Watford has played zero minutes for West Ham. His only game action came for Watford in the EFL Cup where the Hornets lost out to Newport County. Fabian Balbuena’s unlikely rise to prominence ahead of Issa Diop has pushed Dawson even further down the pecking order.

Dawson was always going to be a cover signing, the loan specification on the 30-year-old’s transfer made sure of it. It is inconsequential that he hasn’t played for the senior team but match fitness is important and hopefully he can get on well here.

Andriy Yarmolenko playing alongside a plethora of youth team players is a bit laughable, however, after testing positive for COVID-19 while away with Ukraine, some youthful exuberance could be exactly what the winger needs.

The Hammers are surprisingly thin at right-wing and less surprisingly striker; getting Yarmolenko back up to match fitness will be crucial in resupplying the team with usable offensive reinforcements as the season enters the ever-hectic Christmas period.

Outside of Dawson and Yarmolenko, two names to circle are Goncalo Cardoso and Nathan Holland. Both players were thought to have long and promising West Ham careers ahead of them but a huge injury layoff for Holland sidetracked a loan this season, while Cardoso has failed to push any senior players for minutes.

Next. Breaking Down The Validity of West Ham’s Christian Eriksen Link. dark

Hopefully, this mish-mash of senior and youth players can gel for an inspired Cup win in the Hammers’ quest for Pizza glory. If nothing else, no injuries and a much-needed fitness test for Dawson and Yarmolenko would be just alright, too.