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CandH Exclusive: Aguerd injury details revealed

 

CandH exclusive by Hughie Southon

 

West Ham have learned the full extent of Nayef Aguerd’s injury and fear he may be rushed back into action for Morocco too quickly in Qatar.

The Hammers central defender appeared to pick up a groin injury following a tackle on Spain frontman Alvaro Morata in the last 16 game.

However, after a scan today the Hammers have learned from the Moroccan staff that in fact the injury his to his thigh and are now worried that he will be rushed back into the quarter final game against Portugal at the weekend.

A key Claret and Hugh source inside the London Stadium revealed to us exclusively the extent of the problem and the Hammers fear of a far too early return.

He said: “Aguerd’s  is a low grade thigh tear which in reality is a one to three week lay-off.

However, the fear is they rush him back for the weekend and that can make the injury a big tear which can be six weeks.

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Warburton explains what must come next for Irons

Mark Warburton claims the Hammers were forced to take a makeshift squad to Cambridge United but was pleased with the result and manner of the performance.

Despite missing Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek from midfield the Hammers easily overcame the League One team as indeed most of us would have expected.

As we reported earlier a number of missed chances ensured that the Us got away with a relatively respectable score line in Greg Taylor’s testimonial, but it would be overly harsh to be unhappy as a result.

In the end several of the regular first team players had a reasonable work out and afterwards Warburton explained the approach to the game and what the manager and backroom staff expect net.

Speaking to West Ham TV, assistant coach he enthused over Bowen and Benrahma’s strikes, as well as the performances of the Club’s representatives at the World Cup, and reassured fans that neither Cresswell’s injury nor Souček and Cornet’s absences are of any great concern.

He said: “It was important to come back and play some good football in a competitive game after the break we have had.

The boys have come in and had three or four hard-working days and tonight was an extension of that.

It’s important now to start preparing for the first game back [at Arsenal] on 26 December, so it was important to get minutes into the boys’ legs and good loading and a good workout.

Some of them had 45 minutes and some had 60 and some of the young boys came on and did well and got minutes as well and did well, so overall it was a really good experience.

Tuesday night was important to get those minutes and now we need two or three days of really good training again before we travel (to Udinese) prepare well for a good test.

It’s all part of our preparation and we have to go there with a good mindset and give a good performance.”

 

 

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Declan concern

Declan Rice missed England training ahead of the World Cup quarter-final clash with France.

The Three Lions are set to face the reigning world champions on Saturday in what could be seen as the biggest game in the tournament to date.

Declan has played a key role for England thus far, playing in all three group games, against Iran, the USA, and Wales, and was also key to their 3-0 last-16 victory over Senegal.

However, The Guardian reports that Declan missed training ahead of the encounter after feeling unwell.

No further update than that has been released thus far, and it feels unlikely that this illness will rule Declan out of the Boxing Day clash with Arsenal.

However, he will be desperate to fight his way back to fitness for England ahead of a titanic clash in the last-eight of the tournament.

The Hammers skipper has been one of the most impressive players for Gareth Southgate’s side at the World Cup and his value will likely soar if he plays a role against France and England manage to reach the semi-finals.

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Irons battling Villa for transfer – report

West Ham are battling Aston Villa to sign Djibril Sow from Eintracht Frankfurt, according to a new report.

Sport 1 reports that the two Premier League clubs are keen on a deal to bring the midfielder to England, either in January or the summer.

Sow has played for Switzerland at the World Cup, although they were dumped out of the competition by Portugal in the last 16, losing 6-1 in humiliating fashion.

However, Villa and the Hammers are both said to have been impressed by Sow and want to bring him in.

No bid has been tabled yet, although Nottingham Forest did make an attempt to buy Sow in the summer, and the report states that Frankfurt would require a massive offer to countenance a sale.

That is said to be in excess of €30m, or £25.8m, which is a figure that is likely beyond David Moyes’ side in January.

Frankfurt have also been strong in their stance that they do not intend to sell any of their players mid-season, but Sow’s situation is slightly different.

He has a contract until 2024 and has, thus far, refused to commit to signing an extension.

That means he is far more likely to move in the summer, which may be Frankfurt’s last chance to bank a fee for the Swiss star.

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Hammers confusion

 

By Hughie Southon

 

There may be a simple answer to the confusion I suffered as I watched the second half of the game at Cambridge United last night,

Unfortunately, after a night’s kip I am still unable to reach a conclusion as to why the manager decided to bring five under 23s into the action.

Don’t get me wrong. I am usually more than happy to see our youngsters get chances given the reluctance to promote them to the first team squad, but I still can’t quite accept that last night was the right time and place.

As the second half progressed, he chose to introduce five and before going any further let me say that goal scoring Pierre Ekwah was deeply impressive

That, however, is another issue and what confused me was why, given this was a game to get the Premier League lads up to fitness, they were out there at all.

Pre-season friendlies are an entirely different thing to the purposes of last night’s game and surely shouldn;t have been used in the same way

Like I say, it was nice to see the youngsters in one respect but there remains a big WHY? in my mind.

Cambridge United are barely much better than many Premier League 2 teams so the manager is hardly going to learn much more about them than he already knows.

I’ll leave it to you lot to give me a clue.

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Vlasic breaks silence

Nikola Vlasic admits he is very happy at Torino.

The Hammers flop was sent to Serie A in the summer and he has impressed since making the move to Italy.

In 15 league games, the Croatia international has scored four goals and laid on two assists.

And he has continued to thrive in the national team, playing well at the World Cup.

Croatia came through their group with Morocco, Belgium, and Canada, and went on to beat Japan on penalties in the Round of 16; Vlasic scored his spot-kick.

That has booked a blockbuster quarter-final with Brazil and Vlasic has now admitted that he is enjoying life at Torino and has hinted that he could make his stay permanent.

We have reported consistently that there is a purchase option in the deal, which stands at just under £13m, that Torino can activate, either in January or in the summer.

Per Gazzetta dello Sport, Vlasic said: “I feel like sharing this joy [making it to World Cup quarter-final] with Torino fans. They are fantastic. From the first day I arrived in the city, they took me by the hand.

“When I meet them on the street, they always repeat to me ‘Grande Toro’, ‘Grande Toro’. Everyone asks me to stay for a long time. I’m very happy at Torino, let’s see what happens in the summer, but right now I just want to enjoy the joy and fun of wearing that shirt and thinking about winning games to make them happy.”

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Shock Paqueta claim

Juventus want to sign Lucas Paqueta, according to a new report in Italy.

The Serie A giants are said to be keeping a close eye on the Hammers’ summer signing ahead of a potential bid in the summer transfer window, per Calciomercato.

Paqueta is impressing for Brazil at the World Cup and scored their fourth goal as they demolished South Korea 4-1 in the Round of 16.

He has not quite had the same effect at the London Stadium, but he has laid on two assists in eight Premier League games.

Still, Juventus are said to have been alerted by his performances in a Brazil shirt and are contemplating a move at the end of the season.

A number of dominos need to fall for the deal to happen, though; Juve need to move on a number of their midfield players, including Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie, if they are to be able to afford a deal.

The report claims he would cost in excess of £35m, but we’d expect any deal to cost at least double that given he has only been at the club for a few months!

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Scamacca misery

Gianluca Scamacca had a very poor night at Cambridge United and his inability to find the net from simple positions became a worrying feature of the friendly game against a League One outfit just above the relegation places.

The Italian came on for the second half in a move which saw Michail Antonio move to the wing and went on to miss three glorious chances as the Hammer strolled to their 4-2 win.

As a sidebar to that it’s worth mentioning that this may have been a great opportunity to play the two alongside each other but Moyes persisted with his usual tactic of playing one up – a scenario to which the No 7 is unused having had a partner at Sassuolo,

Last night however he had no excuses for the lack of chances provided but after going clear in the 55th minute shot straight at the keeper from close range – a poor result.

Then in the 79th minute he somehow managed to screw a simple chance wide before missing another from a similar position three minutes from the end.

In between times he tried a shot which ballooned over the bar from about 20 yards to complete a miserable night for him against a less than average team.

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Injury updates on Aguerd, Cresswell and Cornet

West Ham coach Mark Warburton was sent out to address the media after last night’s friendly at Cambridge United and was keen to explain the ‘injury issues’ which may be affecting the squad.

He explained that the decision to replace Aaron Cresswell with Emerson was a precautionary measure given that it was a very cold night and that it was hoped the situation with the No 1 left back was not serious.

Maxwell Cornet was  described as not being too far away after a little tweak following an injury which stretches back to October 1 and the Wolves game whilst Tomas Soucek was absent following an interrupted night’s sleep and suffering a stiff lower back.

In normal circumstances he would normally have been used but given they have only been back a few days Warburton explained it’s important to look after them.

He added that Nayef Aguerd – injured on World Cup duty – had been in touch with the club discussing his groin problem.

He said: “Fingers crossed it’s not as bad as it looked. We saw he reached for his groin but he’s quite happy tonight (after Morocco’s World Cup round of 16 win over Spain) so hopefully he’ll have it assesses and have a scan in the morning and, fingers crossed, it’s not too bad.”

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Brilliant Benny stars in Irons Cambridge canter

Cambridge United 2 West Ham 4

By Hughie Southon

West Ham came from behind to beat the League One team in a canter with star of the show Said Benrahma scoring a magnificent goal as he carried on from where he had left off before the break.

His thunderous drive from just outside the box in the 70th minute was the game’s magic moment after Bowen had equalised Rosi’s 50th minute strike with a well taken shot a minute later.

The Hammers took the lead for the first time going  2-1 up when Emersons cross deceived the U’s defence and was deflected into the home side’s net late in the first half.

Sub Pierre Ekwah added a fourth for the Hammers but in reality, it should probably had been double that with Scamacca – on for the second 45 minutes – spurning four great chances.

There was a fitting end to the game with Hammers fan Greg Taylor scoring from the spot on his testimonial night.

In fairness to the Hammers they were hard at it for most of the 90 minutes, but Scamacca is beginning to cause a few worried frowns.

Benrahma had a terrific game and young Ekwah looked a real handful during his second half appearance.

West Ham United: Fabiański, Johnson, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell ©, Downes, Coventry, Fornals, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio
Subs: Randolph (GK), Hegyi (GK), Coufal, Emerson, Greenidge, Laing, Forbes, Ekwah, Potts, Earthy, Appiah-Forson, Benrahma, Swyer, Scamacca