West Ham United winger Nathan Holland has been nominated for the 2019/20 Premier League 2 Player of the Season award, capping a fine individual campaign.
The 21-year-old was in relentless form for Dmitri Halajko’s Under-23s side, racking up 14 goals and eight assists in just 18 appearances at Development Squad level.
Those numbers not only culminated in Holland finishing top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 scoring charts, but also being named PL2 Player of the Month for November, having been nominated in October.
After a first competitive start against Oxford United in the League Cup in September, Holland went on to make both his Premier League debut for West Ham against Wolverhampton Wanderers and his home league debut against Arsenal in early December.
Decided by the Premier League’s Football Development Panel, the 2019/20 Premier League 2 Player of the Season shortlist also features Billy Gilmour (Chelsea); Jahmal Hector-Ingram (Derby County); Curtis Jones (Liverpool); Liam Cullen (Swansea City); and Rayhaan Tulloch (West Bromwich Albion).
Should Holland claim the prize, he would be following in the footsteps of Premier League first-team regulars including Brighton & Hove Albion’s Aaron Connolly (2018/19 winner), Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson (2017/18) and then-Swansea player Oli McBurnie (2016/17).
"It feels great to be nominated," Holland told whufc.com. "It's great to be recognised for the good season I had personally.
"A Premier League debut was definitely at the top of it, and it was also great to make my first competitive start for West Ham. It's good to be recognised, and it was a great season for the Under-23s as well, so hopefully I can kick on again now."
After netting a searing solo goal to clinch a win over Premier League 2 title rivals Manchester United in January, the winger joined League One club Oxford on loan to further his development.
Seeking valuable Football League experience under Us’ boss Karl Robinson, the fleet-footed winger continued his impressive form, making 12 senior appearances for Oxford.
During that time, he scored three times for Oxford – including a spectacular injury-time volley to equalise against Newcastle United in the FA Cup fourth round.
That progression was sadly halted in March, however, when injury – and then the subsequent season suspension – curtailed an overall highly impressive campaign.
"I gained a lot of experience at Oxford and it was a good time for the club," Holland reflected. "It was a shame I couldn't help them towards the League One Play-Off Final in the end, but I definitely learned a lot there and am looking to take that experience forward with me."
Holland will nevertheless have been delighted to see his U23s teammates conclude their shortened 2019/20 Premier League 2 campaign top of the table and unbeaten in the league.
His nomination is also the seventh Premier League 2 award nod that the Hammers' Development Squad enjoyed within the eight months of the season that were played out.
Dan Kemp was nominated for August’s award; Anthony Scully won in September; Scully and Holland were both nominated for October; Holland won November’s, when teammate Bernardo Rosa was also nominated; and Xande Silva was nominated for February.
Last week, the U23s began pre-season training for 2020/21 at Little Heath Sports Ground – with the sporting outcomes of the last campaign still to be announced.