Had things turned out differently, Jarrod wouldn’t be the first member of the Bowen family to pull a West Ham United shirt in the Premier League.
Exactly like the 23-year-old, the forward’s father Sam was a prolific striker himself in his playing days, scoring five times on his debut for Southern League club Merthyr Tydfil back in August 1996 — four weeks before his son came to the world.
Really, Sam’s fine form saw him provided a trial by West Ham manager Harry Redknapp. Based on Bowen junior, Redknapp wished to provide his Dad a bargain, but the Welsh club’s hierarchy turned it down and he stayed in the non-league ranks for the rest of his career.
” My Dad really came to West Ham for a trial and Harry Redknapp was the supervisor and wanted to sign him”, said Jarrod Bowen.
“My Dad used to play with when he was at Merthyr Tydfil he came to West Ham for a trial and Harry Redknapp was the director and wanted to sign him,” said the Hammers’ new No17. “He keeps telling me this story, so I will never forget it!
“He tells me West Ham wanted to invest in for him, but seemingly Merthyr requested for loads of cash and he did not go, then ended up leaving a year later at no cost. So, apparently they sort of stood in his way of a move to West Ham as Harry liked him and wanted to sign him, but the group he was at would not allow it.
“So, he tells me he reckons they destroyed his career, but I believe he is feeling sorry for himself!”
While Sam went on to play and score dozens of goals — to the likes of Worcester City, Forest Green Rovers, Bromsgrove Rovers, Newport County and Leominster Town, his son was destined for bigger things.
After starting out with neighborhood club Hereford United as a schoolboy, Jarrod played eight times for the Bulls as a teenager, helping keep the Edgar Street club at the Seminar in 2014. However, with Hereford’s financial problems viewing the club expelled in the top level of non-league soccer, the teenager moved to Hull City to finish his scholarship.
There, he earned a Premier League debut at 19 and netted more than 50 goals in two-and-a-half Championship seasons, making a return back to the top-flight with West Ham, where he expects to get the most out of an opportunity not afforded to his dad.
Following two eye-catching cameos off the seat at Manchester City and Liverpool, Bowen hopes to get an opportunity to impress on what could be his London Stadium debut in Saturday’s vital home game with Southampton.
“I am confident we can escape the situation we are in,” he said. “The gaffer and the remaining lads are equally optimistic that we can escape this circumstance. You would not walk in here and believe everybody is depressed or down; everybody is upbeat and it is a positive atmosphere, which is exactly what you require. A good deal of these players are experienced and know what’s required.
“Confidence is high. If you consider the operation against Liverpool on Monday, if we could take that into Southampton, then it is going to be good. We’ve got plenty of games against teams around us and that level of functionality is what it takes to escape it.”