Hammer Zouma reckons Mubama ‘s top quality


The game against Spurs yesterday was unlike any pre-season game I can remember such was its intensity!

And Kurt Zouma was pleased to get such a tough felt the same way as we took a 2-0 lead, saw it equalised and then won through a fine goal from Gianluca Scamacca following a fine Pablo Fornals assist.

Ok, games against Spurs are always special and need to be won but the exhibition game in Australia took on that of mid season Premier League game..

Few who watched will disagree and for most of the 90 minutes it was the opposition who called the tune so fair play to the Irons for their resilience.

We went into the game without a host of senior players due to their summer international commitments and the late finish to last season .

For Zouma, it was a trip that saw him help to lead and inspire a relatively inexperienced squad that included eight players aged 21 or under, and the Frenchman was eager to praise the Academy of Football graduates.

While the north Londoners did score two second-half goals, the Irons scored three either side, with Danny Ings and 18-year-old Divin Mubama heading in first-half efforts before Gianluca Scamacca raced onto Pablo Fornals’ through ball to win it late on.

Kurt Zouma celebrates with Danny Ings and Jarrod Bowen

Afterwards the Hammers No 4 said: “These friendly games are always tough. We played against a good side, but we got the win and that’s the most important thing, I would say. It was a tough game and good for the legs and good for the fitness and I thought we did good today.

“All the time you’re playing big games and I think it was good for the Australian fans to see a proper Premier League game and the fitness is there. We’re still preparing for the season and working on that, but it’s always good to get the win.

“It was a lively game. I have to say we had a lot of defending to do and Łukasz has done a great job again. Defensively we were good tactically, but they had a good few chances to score, but we tried to stay strong, keep the shape and in a friendly game you are preparing for the season, so it was good to get the win and we keep building on it.”

Zouma was impressed by the performance of Mubama, who held the ball up, ran the channels, hassled the Spurs backline, created space for his teammates and scored his second goal in two games in Australia when he steered in Emerson’s left-wing cross with a deft header.

“He deserves it,” the defender stated. “I feel as though we have seen him play a few games for us, he scored in the Conference League and he’s a top player with top quality.

“The young lads put a shift in. This pre-season was good for them, training and playing and getting some minutes. They showed what they are capable of, they deserve it and I hope we can see them more with the first team.”

There were over 46,000 fans at Optus Stadium in Perth on a cold, wet midwinter night, and Zouma has been thrilled by the turnout of supporters for the Claret and Blue cause Down Under.

He said: “We have to thank them for the support they showed us. This is where you can see just how big West Ham is worldwide. Everyone is supporting West Ham and they had a chance to watch a Premier League game here and it’s good for them as well and for the kids, as it motivates them.

“Now, it’s time to go home, see our families, rest and keep getting prepared. We have many, many games coming up, and they are good for the spectators to watch. This game was quite lively for them and we have to thank them again for their support.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon