Clyde Best leads tributes to fellow Hammer Nathan Trott
Nathan Trott was handed his West Ham United debut as a late substitute in a convincing 4-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper replaced Lukasz Fabianski with seven minutes remaining at the London Stadium and remained untested in the closing stages as the Premier League outfit eased into the next round.
Among the first to hail the achievement of the young Bermudian was West Ham legend Clyde Best.
“It’s great that he got in and congratulations to him and his family,” said Best, who scored 47 goals in 186 appearances for the East London club between 1968 and 1976. “It’s a fantastic feeling to finally reach the milestone.”
Best added: “Most players would tell you they want to play 90 minutes. But just to get on to the field is a big a deal because you are on the field with people that you look up to and people you’ve watched play on television — and you’ve finally reached your dream.
“But I’m sure his dreams are bigger than that. He can go farther, and I hope he does.”
A first-team debut has been a long time in the making for Trott, who joined West Ham in January 2016 after a recommendation from Best, the Hammers legend.
Trott, who has long been earmarked as the future first-choice goalkeeper at the East London club, also previously drew high praise from Shaka Hislop.
The former West Ham No 1, who is now an ESPN pundit, said the young Bermudian had “all the attributes”, with Trott standing at 6ft 2in and being renowned for his ability with the ball at his feet.
He impressed on loan at AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League One in 2019, making 26 appearances in his first taste of senior football. The custodian represented Bermuda at various youth levels before moving to Britain, where he has featured six times for England Under-20 and has been included in the England Under-21 squad managed by Aidy Boothroyd.
Joining the plaudits from the weekend were Shaun Goater, the former Manchester City striker, and contemporary Nahki Wells, who is at Bristol City and enjoyed his own Cup success.
“Congratulations Nathan Trott on making your debut,” Goater wrote on Twitter. “Now the journey starts and hopefully many more to come. Keep up the good work.”
Wells added: “First of many I hope. Keep representing.”
Best has high expectations for Trott, who in his early days tested himself in defence, midfield and attack before settling for a life between the sticks to follow in the footsteps of father Dwayne, a former Devonshire Colts goalkeeper.
“I’m looking for better things from him,” Best continued. “He’s had his first baptism in the [first team], so let’s hope it’s a step in the right direction.
“It’s only to the beginning and let’s hope that he keeps pressing on from there and they give him more time.”
Best is immensely proud to see a growing number of Bermudians on a path that he had helped to chart more than 50 years ago.
“It’s great because that was the plan at the start,” he said. “If more see me doing it, then they want to emulate.
“I’ve always said it’s not about me but about the country because if we have enough players over there, that means we’re going to finally get a national team that is able to compete with everybody else in [Concacaf]. So the more pros we get, the easier it’s going to be for us.
“I’m over the moon every time I see somebody from home lacing up their boots and playing professionally. I feel really good for them, their parents and the whole country.”
Two years ago, Trott agreed a new deal that will keep him at West Ham until the end of the 2021-22 season.
The match at the London Stadium itself proved a routine home victory for West Ham over their League One opposition.
The home side went ahead in the second minute when Andriy Yarmolenko released Ryan Fredericks, and his cutback was steered into the net by Pablo Fornals.
Yarmolenko made it 2-0 half an hour later when he lifted a finish over Doncaster goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe after Saïd Benrahma's pass.
Eight minutes into the second half, Doncaster defender Andy Butler put through his own net, and substitute Oladapo Afolayan completed the scoring 12 minutes from time.
Then came the substitution that Bermuda’s Trott will remember for ever, ushered on by manager David Moyes for the final seven minutes plus four minutes of stoppage time.
The reward for West Ham is a daunting fifth-round tie away to Manchester United, who beat Liverpool 3-2 at Old Trafford yesterday.