"Because of the media attention, Michael was in Joe's shadow a bit in those early days but it never seemed to bother him that much."
But Jimmy Hampson, West Ham's head of recruitment and mentor of both men, remembers the pair as equally talented, with neither dominant.
"We didn't think that way on the staff," he said. "From the start we thought Joe and Michael were exceptional young players. They were different but both special in their own way.
"Michael did lack a bit physically when he was a young lad but both he and Joe always worked hard and matured as they went along.
"They're both still very different as players now but as lads they haven't changed much."