Moyes mulling over Academy inclusion

  • by Staff Writer
  • Monday, 30th January 2023

It's fair to say that Academy hopeful Divin Mubama has been pulling up trees for the Under 18s and Under 21s in recent months.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice in West Ham's win at Kingsmeadow against Chelsea last week, having been promoted to the 21s, continuing his excellent recent run of goalscoring form.

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And that consistency has given Mubama a chance of featuring for the senior team when West Ham take on Derby County in the FA Cup at Pride Park on Monday evening - according to manager David Moyes, who has been wholly impressed with the teenager's progression.

Moyes took Mubama to Bucharest earlier this year where he made his debut against FCSB in what was a comfortable 3-1 win for the Hammers.

And while the Rams - who are unbeaten in their last 19 outings - are likely to prove a much tougher test, the boss believes Mubama is close to reaching a level where he can hold his own against senior players.

"I’d like to have Divin involved if I could," Moyes told West Ham's website. "I'd like to have him around the group. I think he is still off it a little bit, but if I could get him involved, I certainly would.

"He’s got a brilliant attitude. He’s grateful [for his first team opportunities], he has great humility in him with the work he wants to do. He’s willing to run and work for the team and is a real team player, which I really like. We like him and we think he’s got a chance.

"It’s probably just a little bit before his time, but you’ve seen him in Europe and he came on in a mid-season game against Fulham and he’s done well. So if we’ve got room for Divin, we’ll try and use him 100 per cent."

Meanwhile one player definitely in the squad for the trip to the Midlands is defender Nayef Aguerd, who will be experiencing his first taste of FA Cup football against a team from a lower tier of the football pyramid.

Yet despite the very real possibility of a cup upset - the likes of which West Ham narrowly avoided against sixth tier Kidderminster last season but have been embarrassed by many times over the years - he says he is looking forward to the game.

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"We go to Derby confident after our win against Everton," Aguerd told "I saw smiles in the dressing room last weekend; the victory lifted our confidence a lot. When I see players and the quality we have in our squad, I'm very confident and very ambitious.

"The FA Cup is an important competition here in England. You can see what it means to the fans and the players during the game. It is very tough, but the FA Cup is something we want to do well in, of course.

"The cup games are different to the league," he continued. "There is the pressure of it being a knockout. With the league, you need to wait until the end of the season for the final result but with the cup, it’s all or nothing. Everything is on the line to get to the next stage."

And the Moroccan international believed the travelling support, which should number in the region of 5,000 at Pride Park could ultimately make the difference between success or failure.

"As always, we will need the fans," he insisted. "We need them because they will help us, as they do when we play away. We want to feel like we are playing at home almost. With their support, we want to reach the next round."

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