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Downes: What a dilemma

By Dave Langton

Flynn Downes has given David Moyes a pleasant headache.

The Hammers boss admitted as much himself last night after the Irons managed to hold off a spirited Anderlecht side to win 1-0 and extend their perfect run in the Europa Conference League.

Downes has now played in two games – he also featured against FCSB – and has been Man of the Match both times.

He has a real eye for a pass, an engine that rivals Declan Rice, he can tackle, and he can create. What’s not to like?

As one of the more unheralded signings of the summer, particularly when placed alongside Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca, Downes is beginning to look like a genuine bargain.

We know that Moyes loves bringing players up from the lower-leagues and moulding them into superstars and it looks like Downes is already on that path.

But to get there, he has to play!

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While there are shades of Declan in his game, there is precious little chance of Rice being dropped. He’s the skipper and the only reason he was on the bench last night was because of the sheer amount of football he’s asked to play for both club and country.

And that brings us to Tomas Soucek.

The Czech has been really struggling this season and with Fulham looming, one has to think the timing could not be better to introduce some fresh blood in midfield.

Dropping Soucek and starting Downes would be a hugely bold call with the Czech coming back to his very best against Wolves.

But Downes’ performances can no longer go unnoticed. We can’t imagine him being back on the bench against Fulham.

As explained, Moyes has a very pleasant headache.

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.

4 comments on “Downes: What a dilemma

  1. I’m not the type who will burst a blood vessel and attempt to micro-manage team selection from the sidelines as a supporter, because that is all I am, I do not set up the team or watch the players in training, day in and day out, that is the manager’s job.
    The squad is going through a change in style and personnel and this takes time… a point which has been lost on the less knowledgeable. We’re not in a bubble. look around at other clubs to figure this point out.

    But with my limited knowledge and trusty eyesight, I have never doubted that Flynn will be a success at this club, as I had seen enough of him to suggest that he will.
    No bold predictions, but once he finds his feet, he’s going to be a decent player for us.
    COYI

    • Well said my friend. Flynn Downes for me, has been signed to give defensive midfield cover for Declan Rice. But if Declan leaves West Ham next summer, I don’t believe that Flynn will be good enough by then to fill Dec’s boots. But as my fellow moggy said, he’ll be a decent player for us. Some fans are calling for Downes to replace a 27 year old Czech Republic captain with over 50 full international caps. Made me laugh out as loud as I’ve ever done. They’re totally different players, ffs! Downes never scored regularly in the Championship or League One – he’s no Antonio or Bowen – Just three goals in 99 games for Ipswich, and one for Swansea in 39, last season. He picks up a lot of yellow cards though!
      Incidentally, Declan and Flynn were born in the same week.

      • 😀 Spot On, I couldn’t agree more. Talk about trying to shoehorn a player to fit in with unrealistic expectations!
        He isn’t Soucek MKII and it may take a little while for him to fully acclimatise, but I’m sure that he will offer something different because he’s Flynn Downes…. but he’ll get there.

  2. Seems to me Downes is an out and out defensive midfielder more in the mould of Rice than Souchek but he has done enough to prove he can do a job as back up to either player. Very useful if Moyes needs to rest Rice or Souchek at any point maybe against lesser opposition.

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