West Ham academy chief Terry Westley says Reece Burke is going nowhere and is a future first-team player

Bradford City stadium

The England under-20 international has been linked with Leicester City.

West Ham’s talented squad does mean several of their young players have had to go out on loan for regular first-team football this season.

One such player is Reece Burke.

The 19-year-old England youth international has been in great form for Bradford City in League One this season. He joined the Bantams on loan in the summer and has gone on to feature 32 times for the club and establish himself as one of the divisions best centre-backs.

He has however been linked with an exit from West Ham in the summer. Earlier this month The Sun reported that Premier League leaders Leicester City were keen on bringing in the player.

But West Ham academy manager Terry Westley has made it clear that he does not believe Burke will leave the club this summer.

He told the Telegraph and Argus this week:

“Reece comes back down here when they have a day off or like when he was injured with his arm. You notice he’s really grown up in his stature and confidence.

“He knows he is going to be a professional footballer. The real question is, at what level?

“We absolutely see him as a West Ham player and a potential first-teamer. I think he has got a shot.

“He has combined being up against seasoned pros for Bradford with playing for England under-20s and can’t be far off the 21s. Let’s see if he can break into it at West Ham.”

Burke is obviously a top talent but he faces a big task getting into the West Ham first-team.

The likes of James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, James Tomkins and Winston Reid block his path, as do younger options such as Doneil Henry and Reece Oxford.

But if he can continue to impress in Yorkshire perhaps Burke will have a future in the West Ham first-team.

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