Five West Ham youngsters who could make their first-team breakthrough this season; including Lee and Oxford

Five youngsters who could make their West Ham United senior breakthrough this season.

For Premier League clubs, a new season usually means a new batch of youngsters coming through on the footballing production line, ready to make their first-team breakthrough.

At West Ham this season, the story is no different. 

With Europa League football with which to contend, the Hammers' bumper calendar could provide the perfect opportunity for a number of the club's youngster to experience a taste of senior action. 

As part of HITC Sport's season preview, we have analysed the latest prospects waiting to make their mark. Here are five under-21s tipped to make their Boleyn Ground breakthroughs in the 2015/16 Premier League campaign...

Reece Burke

Reece Burke, 18, a graduate from the West Ham youth academy, was voted the Young Hammer of the Year at the end of last season, having made five Premier League appearances for the club throughout the tail end of the campaign. 

The defender has been capped up to England Under-19 level, but he has already confirmed that he isn't going to rest on his handful of first-team outings. He may well be further involved now Slaven Bilic is in charge at the Boleyn Ground.

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee is another man gunning for first-team action this term. After a taste of pre-season competition, he has already stated his desire to emulate Tottenham striker Harry Kane's rise to prominence, as reported by the Mirror, by using the Europa League to launch his West Ham career.

The 20-year-old forward was handed his first start for the Hammers in their Europa League first qualifying round clash against Lusitans in Andorra earlier this month and he marked the occasion with his first senior goal for the club.

Martin Samuelsen

Norwegian teenager Martin Samuelsen, who spent three years with the Manchester City, impressed during a trial at Upton Park this summer, before earning a deal until 2017 with the option of a further two years.

The 18-year-old, who plays as a forward, made his first appearance for the Hammers in the club's 3-3 pre-season draw with Peterborough United at London Road. He has also represented his country at under-16, under-17 and under-18 level. 

Josh Cullen

19-year-old Josh Cullen is rated as one of the best young prospects in the Hammers academy, and he was promoted to the first team set-up by Sam Allardyce last season and was an unused substitute for a number of top-flight games.

Cullen has captained the Development Squad regularly as well as making the first-team bench on a couple of occasions. He scored arguably the goal of the season with a 90th minute rocket against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to ensure a 1-0 victory.

Reece Oxford

Reece Oxford made history this summer as he became the club's youngest-ever first-team player, aged 16 years 198 days, in the Hammers' 3-0 victory over Andorran side FC Lusitans at the Boleyn Ground. 

The centre-half, who has been likened to Rio Ferdinand, was the Hammers' academy player of the year last term, and captained England at the European U17 Championships in Bulgaria. 

He was an unused substitute when the Irons took on Sheffield United last September, aged just 15. 

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