West Ham United Under-21 manager Nick Haycock has held talks with officials from the Premier League to see if a youth side could one day compete in the Conference.

Last year saw the introduction of the inaugural Under-21 Premier League which featured 23 teams and was eventually won by Manchester United after they defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

However, many clubs still preferred to send their best young talent out on loan in order for them to gain experience in a side playing in a competitive league structure, rather than simply use them in youth competitions.

Across Europe there are examples of major clubs with reserve teams competing in the lower divisions. Barcelona B and Real Madrid Castilla both play in the Segunda division (the equivalent of the Championship), while Bayern Munich II currently play in the fourth tier of German football.

Haycock believes a similar system would be beneficial in England has revealed numerous meetings have already been conducted to discuss the possibility of youth sides entering the lower divisions.

"We have been saying at meetings with the Premier League in recent months that we would like to put a team to compete in the Conference to give the boys the opportunity of playing for points. It showed [on Monday] that we'd be capable of doing that, or maybe even higher than that," Haycock told the official West Ham website.

"It's something that English football probably needs to look at. The Development league is good but that next step at the age of 20 or 21, if you cannot make the first team because the average age is going up because of the money in the game, it's something most definitely worth considering,"

Former Chelsea and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez called for a revamp of the reserve set-up back in 2007, while Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas also voiced his support for 'B' teams to compete in the Football League.

The Tottenham manager said he felt it would help young players make the step up to the Premier League, but his suggestion was immediately dismissed by League chief Andy Williamson.

West Ham have a rich history of producing talent from their academy but it is becoming harder for young players to gain opportunities in modern football as immediate success is demanded by chairman, managers and fans alike.