Liverpool player Rhian Brewster is sad proof West Ham's famed Academy is dying

General view inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at London Stadium on May 14, 2017 in Stratford, England.

West Ham United are famous for their Academy roots but Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster has highlighted a major worry.

General view of the stadium before the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Stoke City at the Bolyen Ground on August 31, 2013 in London, England.Upton Park provided a constant reminder of West Ham's pride at being the Academy of Football 

Liverpool may have a glorious history but West Ham are not called the Academy of Football for nothing.

However the Hammers' reputation in real danger.

Yes the East Londoners may be the self-styled Academy of Football, but it is with good reason.

The club has a long and proud history of producing top professional footballers who have gone on to represent their country, none more famous than World Cup winning trio Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

So when it emerged this week that England U17 World Cup winning hero, tournament top scorer and Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster was born and raised literally right on West Ham's doorstep it shocked supporters to their core.

Brewster shot to prominence last month as he scored eight goals to help England U17s to World Cup glory.

Rhian Brewster of England scores a goal against Brazil during the semifinal football match in the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in Kolkata on...

But having grown up on the border of London and Essex, and attending Chadwell Heath Primary School before developing his talents at Chadwell Heath Academy how was he not recruited by West Ham?

Should Brewster go on to make it as a Premier League star it is a question that will haunt the club for years to come.

It was bad enough that London rivals Chelsea got their hands on the striker before West Ham, despite Hammers scouts having watched him play.

But when he saw no realistic pathway to first team football in West London, Brewster instead saw Liverpool as a more realistic prospect, as reported by the BBC.

That is a damning indictment of West Ham's status as a club which gives an opportunity to emerging talent.

It also sums up the frustrations of fans who have bemoaned a lack of identity which is intrinsically linked to a lack of youth development from Sam Allardyce and Slaven Bilic.

Rhian Brewster of Liverpool controls the ball during the International Friendly match between Sydney FC and Liverpool FC at ANZ Stadium on May 24, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

Speaking to last year, Brewster said: "I was at Chelsea from the age of seven to 14 but then I told them I wanted to look at my options because I didn't see a pathway to become a first-team player there.

"There were a few clubs interested but once I knew Liverpool were one of them it was an easy choice. Liverpool is a club that does give young players opportunities and it's a great feeling to play for this club. I love it up here."

It was not so long ago those were words regularly spouted about West Ham, much to the pride of the Hammers faithful. 

Four years of stunted development under Sam Allardyce looked to have changed when he was replaced by Bilic, who memorably made 16-year-old Reece Oxford the club's youngest ever player as he turned in a man of the match display on his debut and the Croat's first Premier League game in charge.

But Bilic has rarely turned to what is a talented emerging crop of young players since.

West Ham United's Croatian manager Slaven Bilic gestures during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Wembley Stadium in...

Instead West Ham now have the second oldest squad in the Premier League and it is showing on the pitch where the club is incapable of doing it for 90 minutes.

It doesn't help that co-owner David Gold has publicly admitted teenagers are unlikely to get their chance in the Premier League at West Ham.

A sad state of affairs for a club already suffering an identity crisis after leaving its Boleyn Ground home of 112 years.

A penny for the thoughts of legendary former Academy director Tony Carr...

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