Nathan Trott will likely be loaned out to a Sky Bet League One club next season in order to gain first-team experience, Terry Westley, the West Ham United academy director, has revealed.
The Bermuda goalkeeper is considered one of the brightest young talents at West Ham and has already experienced a taste of Premier League football as an unused substitute on three occasions this season.
Trott has flourished at the under-23 level during the past few seasons under the guidance of Westley, who is on the island with the club’s under-17 side for the Bermuda International Football Festival.
Westley, a former Derby County caretaker manager, told The Royal Gazette that the East London outfit now view a loan move as the next step in Trott’s development.
“It’s now about Nathan going from a development player to a senior player — that’s the hardest step,” Westley said. “Nathan is right in that bracket and we’d like to think he’ll probably go on loan and play league football next year and get some experience.
“Within the next two years he needs to find himself in and around the first team. We think he’s that good. He’s got it all in front of him.”
Westley, who succeeded Tony Carr as West Ham’s academy director in 2014, believes a spell in the muck and nettles of League One could be the making of 20-year-old Trott.
“First Division, no lower than the First Division — he’s got to be ready for that,” he said. “That will test his mentality and test him in terms of winning games as he will have team-mates relying on a win bonus to pay the mortgage.
“He needs to be put into that environment and all of those things will help him. We’ve got a talented boy on our hands, that’s for sure.”
Having spent the week experiencing the island’s laid-back culture, Westley now understands why Trott initially struggled with the demands and discipline expected of players in a professional environment.
“Nathan’s very laid-back, very chilled, nothing fazes him,” Westley said. “That’s maybe not a bad thing for a goalkeeper.
“I can see it’s a completely different culture [in Bermuda]. If Nathan rocks up for team meeting five seconds late with David Moyes [the West Ham manager] he won’t get picked for another season. This trip has shown me why Nathan has struggled with some of the things we’ve tried to give him.
“Bermudians are very laid back but the hospitality we’ve been shown from people like Clyde Best and Rick Richardson [the BIFF chairman] has been outstanding.”
Trott has strengthened his growing reputation by helping the England Under-19 side win the European Championships in Georgia last summer. He has since graduated to the under-20 team and is yet to concede a goal in four matches.
It is Trott’s natural athleticism and “unbelievable distribution” that sets him apart from other goalkeepers his age, according to Westley.
“In the under-23 league [Premier League 2] he’s the best goalkeeper in the league,” he said.
“Nathan has unbelievable distribution with his feet and unbelievable reflexes. From starting positions he can pull off worldy saves when you think he has no chance of getting the ball.
“The big, big plus for him is his distribution. If you look at Pep Guardiola [the Manchester City manager] he’s sold Joe Hart and sold another one [Willy Caballero] because they can’t start the game off for them.
“The boy Trott can do that. He can play it all over the pitch. Interestingly, the Bermuda Under-20 goalkeeper [Quinacaeo Hunt] was very good with his feet [during the 1-1 draw on Monday]. He was striking the ball at the National Stadium through the wind and really cutting the ball. I said to our goalkeeping coach ‘there must be something in the type of work that they’re doing’.”
Another Bermudian goalkeeper familiar to Westley is Dale Eve, who played in Bermuda Select’s 5-1 defeat to West Ham at Goose Gosling Field on Wednesday. Eve was part of the same Stoke City youth team as Westley’s son Sam, with the West Ham academy director admitting that the Bermudian’s temperament rather than ability has prevented him from reaching his potential.
“When I first saw Dale I thought ‘this boy has a chance’ but he didn’t quite have enough off the pitch. That mentality held him back.”
Westley, whose side play Săo Miguel, of the Azores, in the BIFF final at Goose Gosling Field tonight, believes the club’s trip to the island has been mutually beneficial and is keen to build upon the relationship.
“It’s been a very good experience for us, but it also shows the Bermudian players what level they need to get to as well,” Westley said.
“We’re going to sit down with their coaching staff and see what their work schedule is like compared to our players. That can only be beneficial to both parties.
“Jamal Baptise, our centre back, is only 14, so to play against older players, on artificial turf, is a different experience.
“That’s why we came here, to gain different experiences and to open the young players up to different styles, different temperatures and different environments. It’s ticked all of those boxes.”