Pundit Martin Keown has stated that Cheikhou Kouyate does not provide enough defensive cover in the heart of West Ham United’s midfield and as such a change in Slaven Bilic’s boiler room is needed.
The Hammers have had an underwhelming start to the new campaign, with dire form on the pitch leading to five defeats from their first six Premier League games.
Bilic has stayed true to the midfield pairing of captain Mark Noble and Kouyate this term, after the pair played an important part in the team’s success last season.
However, with other options now available to the Croatian trainer in the heart of his side, Keown has queried if it is time for a change and stated that the current balance does not feel right.
“The central midfield pairing…doesn’t work for me,” Keown told The Daily Mail.
“Noble is very good on the ball and helps knit everything together for West Ham, but he needs a platform to build on – someone next to him who is willing to track back and protect the defence – and that is not Kouyate.
“He’s a good player but when it comes to defending he is like a fire engine arriving too late to put out the fire.”
West Ham also have the likes of Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes and Havard Nordtveit available to operate in the centre of midfield if so required, while Reece Oxford starred in a number of cameos in the holding role last season.