West Ham travelled to Burnley for what was on paper a dead rubber from the outset. Perhaps the only issue of note was the possibility for each club of finishing as high as 11th or as low as 16th. That equates with a whopping £9 million up to play for - not so boring for the respective club's management all of a sudden!
However, although the prize money system keeps clubs focused until the very last kick of the season, today's game demonstrated how it may be impeding the development of young players. It had been widely rumoured that Declan Rice, Captain of the U23 side that recently won the PL2 trophy, would be rewarded with a first Premier League start but the lad had to settle for a 90th minute entrance as Angelo Ogbonna was preferred in the starting XI.
Rice looks the real deal, but it seems a terrible pity that the pressure to finish as high as possible in the league rankings can discourage managers to take a punt with young but inexperienced talent.
Let's hope the lad gets his chance next season but with Reid, Ogbonna, Fonte and Collins in the mix and with the two Reece's looking to push on, it'll be hard for the Irishman to break into the team. The preoccupation with end of season placings further detracts from the opportunities available to blood new talent.