Three West Ham youngsters set for a big year in 2022: Emmanuel Longelo, Sonny Perkins, Ben Johnson

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(Getty Images)

It’s been a brilliant 2021 on the whole for David Moyes and West Ham, as they’ve reached the knockout stages of the Europa League and look a contender for a top four spot even with a stumbling run of recent form.

Here are three young players who could make 2022 even more exciting...

Emmanuel Longelo

A former forward turned full-back, Longelo was the star of the show when Moyes gave a number of academy players the chance to shine against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.

The 20-year-old’s past as a striker was on show in the way he moved forward with the ball, not afraid to take on a drive past opponents ahead of him and look to create chances going forward.

West Ham may have lost that night but it was through no fault of Longelo’s and the youngster remained solid at the back.

With Aaron Cresswell getting on, Moyes will want to keep an eye on how Longelo develops over the next year.

Sonny Perkins

The 17-year-old who has only recently been converted to a striker has flourished at youth level this season and was rewarded with a Europa League appearance of the bench in Vienna before starting at the London Stadium in the next round.

Nine goals in 15 appearances for West Ham’s academy sides have certainly caught the eye but it is Perkins’s work rate which has so impressed Moyes.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Scot won’t have players who aren’t ready to work and Perkins is relentless in his running, pressing defenders and looking to get in behind, while he’s shown confidence on the ball too.

It may be a while before he could be considered an alternative up top in the first team but Perkins looks to have a future in east London.

Ben Johnson

It’s been a breakthrough season for the full-back. Earlier in the campaign Johnson shot from a third choice right-back whose only chances had come on the left of defence to top of the pile in his preferred position.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Following injury to Vladimir Coufal the 21-year-old impressed at Everton before putting in superb performances against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City while also scoring a fine goal at Aston Villa.

Johnson has dropped back out due to an injury of his own but the past few months have transformed his standing at the club.

A new deal and plenty more chances should follow in the new year.

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