He said: “Having only 32 per cent of players in the Premier League eligible for England is not good enough and though West Ham are much better than most, we have still let talents like Zavon Hines, Junior Stanislas and others slip through our fingers because they haven’t got a fair crack of the whip.”
The East Londoners are known for their famed academy system, and it is a reputation that has been with them for much of their distinguished history. Most regarded for producing a number of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup, in recent years the likes of Mark Noble, Jack Collison and James Tomkins have made the first-team, while Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick have gone on to have great success elsewhere.
Yet it is Zavon Hines and Junior Stanislas that Cottee names as not being given a fair chance at the Boleyn Ground.
25-year-old Stanislas is now playing for Bournemouth in the Championship, and could be back in the Premier League next season, while Hines, 26, is turning out for Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two.
Between them, they made 78 first-team appearances for the Hammers after progressing through the youth ranks, but neither really cemented themselves as a key player. Unfortunately for them, they progressed at a time when the Irons were buying a lot of players from abroad, and Cottee is correct to presume that they were not given a great chance for success.
However, for Hines especially, considering the level they are playing at now, maybe the former English youth duo just weren’t good enough for a club of West Ham’s stature.