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Teenager defender Michael Forbes has signed a scholarship deal with West Ham United and youth coach Gerard Prenderville is convinced that the Irishman will have a ‘big future’ at the London Stadium.

While Premier League clubs are likely to keep their hands in their pockets this summer, their transfer plans hit hard by an ongoing financial crisis, West Ham have got to work tying down a whole host of highly-rated youngsters behind the scenes.

The likes of Daniel Jinadu, Will Greenidge and Dan Chesters all signed professional deals in June.

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And a flurry of teen talents have now also put pen to paper, with Forbes one of eight tipped to follow in the footsteps of Declan Rice and Jeremy Ngakia.

“Michael Forbes is a tough-tackling Northern Irish centre-half who also has only come into the building of late,” Prenderville tells the club’s official website of a 16-year-old who only moved to England a few weeks ago from Dungannon.

“He came in on trial and got on really well with the lads. I think he could have a big future at the club.

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“Hopefully he can attack pre-season training and show everyone what he’s all about.”

Prenderville also has big hopes for the ‘fantastic’ Jamal Baptiste, ‘exciting’ left-back Isaac Evans and the ‘calm, composed’ Freddie Potts, among others.

With Wednesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Burnley plunging West Ham back into the relegation battle, it seems unlikely that Forbes and co will be thrown in at the deep end during the final few weeks of this season.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

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