LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget opens up about his struggles at West Ham

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The 23-year-old American only made one senior appearance for the Hammers during his six years in England.

Sebastian Lletget has been enjoying plenty of plaudits with the LA Galaxy over the past 12 months, but one cannot help but wonder what might have been had it not been for a managerial switch during his time at West Ham United.

Lletget, 23, originally joined West Ham in 2009 after being spotted playing for youth club Sporting Santa Clara in California and soon established himself as one of the Premier League side’s top prospects under the guidance of Gianfranco Zola.

The former US youth international was even training regularly with the first-team as a teenager and seemed to be on the fast track to a senior breakthrough until his fortunes changed following Zola's departure at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.

He subsequently became an afterthought under Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce, respectively, over the next few seasons and ended up making just one appearance for the Hammers in the infamous 5-0 FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest in 2014 before opting to return to the States last summer to link up with LA.

Speaking in the latest MLS Insider episode about his time in east London, Lletget said: “At 17, I was on fire. I was with the first-team all the time and definitely raised some eyebrows. A lot of it was down to the manager at the time, Gianfranco Zola.

“All the players loved him. He helped me a lot and believed in my ability – but he got fired. Someone else came in, and not we didn’t see eye to eye, but I think he just had other plans.

“It was a really tough time. Mentally, I don’t know how I even continued. I knew I wasn’t going to play ever, honestly, and it didn’t matter how well I did or didn’t do.”

Nevertheless, Lletget has certainly been making up for lost time with the Galaxy, having proved one of the top performing midfielders in MLS since arriving at the StubHub Center.

A first-choice starter on the wing, the California native recorded seven goals and two assists in 20 league appearances last season, and while he has failed to find the back of the net in nine games this term, his performances have still earned some rave reviews.

There has even been growing support for the skilful American to receive a first senior international call-up, and he puts most of his success down to having the full support of head coach Bruce Arena.

“The biggest thing for me is just having someone there to give me a chance,” Lletget told MLS Insider. “Bruce was that guy and I was really excited. I arrived, I showed up for training and it was just a clean slate.

"Going from where I was, through all these roller coasters, to now, it's amazing."

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