In our weekly Scout feature, Daniel Roberts takes a detailed look at a new emerging talent from world football. In this latest edition, West Ham U21 starlet Marcus Browne is profiled.
The highly-thought-of midfielder Marcus Browne started his career at West Ham when he was just eight years old and has progressed throughout the youth groups, impressing at every stage of his development. The attack-minded player is equally adept at playing behind the striker in a No.10 role, and is lauded for his mastery of set pieces.
Described as a very exciting player by West Ham academy director Terry Westley, the man who was responsible for developing talent such as Kieron Dyer and Matthew Upson describes the youngster as a game changer, a player who can open up a game and make things happen.
This glowing assessment came after the then-17-year-old signed his first professional contract at the London club back in November last year, rewarded for his impressive performances for both the Under-18 and 21 squads over the previous campaigns. Although injuries have hindered his development over the past few seasons, the midfielder has made a number of notable performances, with the club website declaring this year’s Under-18 fixture against Chelsea as one of his finest, a match where Browne scored an exquisite volley from outside the box, smashing the inside of the bar as it sailed past the Blues goalkeeper.
In recent weeks, Browne’s form in the youth teams of West Ham has certainly not gone unnoticed by Slaven Bilic, with the midfielder being thrust up into the first-team fringes. After training with the squad for a number of weeks, recent outings against Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City in the FA Cup and Premier League have seen the midfielder included in the match-day squad, being an unused substitute in both games. With a number of academy prospects making their first-team debuts recently at the Boleyn Ground, it’s highly likely this season will see the starlet make his first official appearance for the club.
…the youngster as he does his best David Beckham/Ronaldinho impression in training:
What The Experts Say
Terry Westley, West Ham academy director: “Marcus has been offered a professional contract. It’s richly deserved, he’s been one of the best U18 players and he’s transferred that to the U21s where he’s really caught the eye”.
Mark Phillips, West Ham Under-18s assistant manager: “I’ve been at the club for eight years. When I first came to the club I was the under 10s coach. Marcus Browne was in my side so it’s good to see him do well. He’s had some ups and downs, but he was one of the exceptional players of the [Champions Cup Youth Tournement]”.
Where Does The Future Lie
As TEAMtalk revealed earlier this week, Browne has been the subject of high interest from a number of Football Leagues over the past couple of weeks. The highly-rated youngster, however, won’t be moving on loan in the near future, with the London club knocking back the approaches in the hope that Browne will make his senior debut before the season is out.
In the distant future, Browne hopes to not only replicate the progress made by other West Ham academy starlets Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen but impress further to extend his stay at the Premier League side.
Speaking after signing his new deal earlier on this season, Browne said: “This is just the start, so I want to kick on and get more contracts in the future and continue to improve.”
“I’m very pleased with how I’ve progressed. I was out for five months last year with a hamstring injury, but I’ve come back well so I’m happy with that and if I just carry on doing when I’m doing and enjoying football I’ll kick on to bigger things.
“I’ve played with both Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen so it’s good to see where they’re at. I’m pleased for both of them and it gives us encouragement that young players can do it, so I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully I’ll be at the top soon.”
By Danny Roberts – @