Moyes Sensationally unearth West Ham’s best talent luje Declan Rice in “special” FA Youth Cup hero emerges in West Ham

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: David Moyes, Manager of West Ham United celebrates following the Premier League match between West Ham United and Southampton at London Stadium on May 23, 2021 in London, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

West Ham battered Arsenal 5-1 in the FA Youth Cup Final on Tuesday evening to win the trophy for the first time since 1999.

That side over 20 years ago featured the likes of Michael Carrick and Joe Cole, but this new crop of supremely talented youngsters made history at the Emirates Stadium in front of 8,000 rapturous away fans.

Incredibly, it was the Gunners who went ahead after seven minutes, but the Irons produced a stirring and sensational comeback in the form of five unanswered goals.

Kevin Keen, the Hammers coach, was immensely proud of his squad and said: “This is my 40th year in football and that’s the proudest I’ve ever been. The crowd were like an extra man for us. It’s a massive moment for a club that is very well known for our academy and hopefully some of them can go on to have really strong careers for the club.”

This academy side possesses abundant raw, intoxicating, and captivating talent as it has just been crowned as the Premier League U18 South champions too.

Their demolition of Jack Wilshere’s academy products will serve as another pivotal indication of the host of spritely gifts that the East London outfit has at its disposal.

Gideon Kodua, the captain and scorer of the third goal, was one of the standout performers and is beginning to forge a massive future for himself.

Who is Gideon Kodua?

The forward has been with the Irons since 2017 after being scouted playing for Newham District and made his U18s debut in a 4-1 thrashing over Reading in April 2021.

In the 2021/22 season, his first full campaign as a regular starter in the U18s he scored 13 goals in 28 appearances, operating as either a right-winger or central striker.

The following season, he was in even more potent form, as the attacker netted ten goals in 16 U18 Premier League games, playing a key role in the title victory.

The Englishman was also a pivotal figure in the FA Youth Cup as his side secured the domestic double.

Just before half-time, Arsenal defender Josh Robinson miscontrolled a pass in the centre circle and Kudoa ruthlessly punished the mistake with an awe-inspiring 35-yard chip to put the Hammers 3-1 ahead.

The teenager has an impressive crop to follow in the footsteps of with the aforementioned Carrick and Cole bursting through to become England regulars.

The same can be said of Declan Rice. Although he never tasted Youth Cup success like Kodua, he was the pride and joy of the youth set-up after moving away from Chelsea.

The midfielder is now an £80m player in waiting and one of the first names on the teamsheet for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

So “special” is Kodua – as per non-league manager Kiernan Hughes-Mason – that he could well live up to the same raw potential in the coming years.

Indeed, he has emerged as a mind-blowing blend of power, technique, and dynamism akin to that of Rice. We have been told to “remember the name” and this exciting starlet brimming with limitless potential will certainly be a prospect to closely monitor moving forward.