Song and teammate Nene were two players who didn’t travel to Dubai for with the rest of the squad for warm weather training, staying behind in East London to train with the club’s youngsters.
Rather than being seen as a negative for the first team duo, Song has explained how it benefits the youngsters at the club.
“Yes, he is a great player. We know Nene and he has played at a high level. For him to come here and train with the Under-21s is good for them to learn from as well,” said Song.
“It is very important, because when I was this age I was listening every time to the players with experience.”
The youth ranks could be seen as a punishment for older and more experienced players, but there is value in Sam Allardyce utilising that setup.
He can’t throw first team players into under-21 training for the sake of it, but in this instance, he had two players who wanted to improve their fitness while the squad was away.
He can do something similar in the future with first team players coming back from injury, until they get to a point where they are fit enough to take part in first team sessions.
If first team players taking part in a session cause the youngsters to increase their intensity levels and try that little bit harder to impress, it will benefit West Ham long term but it’s something which needs to be managed and utilised in the right way.