Tony Cottee is back with his EXCLUSIVE Forever West Ham column. Read about Tony’s thoughts on Matt Jarvis, his vote for Hammer of the Year and much, much more.
Hammer of the Year
Last season, there was no doubt in my mind – and the majority of West Ham fans – that Winston Reid was a deserved winner. However, things are a bit different this season, as no player has performed at a top-level consistently.
You can look at Winston’s form prior to his injury and say he deserves it because he was immense. However, James Tomkins has been brilliant in recent weeks, but again, not over a whole season.
I’d say it comes down to two candidates; and the answer will be determined on whether you vote for the Hammer of the Year on either impact or whether you vote for someone who has given their heart and soul into every performance.
If you are voting purely on impact then I don’t think we can look further than our new No.1 Adrian. He has been superb for us since he replaced Jussi Jaaskelainen, midway through the season; and the way he has picked himself up after our cup maulings against Manchester City and Nottingham Forest was credible.
Personally, though, I’d vote for Mark Noble. He has been the closest we’ve had to a consistent player. I know he may not always perform to the best of his ability but you know he is always trying, always working and puts everything he has into that 90 minutes.
Andy Carroll vs Rickie Lambert
Historically, England has always taken four strikers to tournaments and I don’t see that changing. I reckon Roy Hodgson will definitely take Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Jermain Defoe and then it will be one of Andy, Rickie, and I’d even consider Peter Crouch.
I don’t think Peter will really be in with a shout – his last Three Lions appearance was back in 2010 – but I don’t think people give him enough credit for his footballing ability and the impressive goalscoring record he has for England.
Ultimately, any squad has to cater for any situation and have alternatives. On current form you’d probably say Rickie is just ahead of Andy – I watched Rickie against Manchester City and thought he was fantastic.
Andy, though, will be fresher than most after spending the majority of the season on the sidelines, and will be keen to impress in our remaining Premier League fixtures.
If England find themselves 1-0 down and desperate for a goal, there is no one more I’d rather see us launching balls into the box to than Andy Carroll.
I’ve since rumours that Matt could be sold in order to fund our transfer business this summer and I find that incredibly harsh.
Arriving for an, as they always are nowadays, inflated price, as well as being our record signing at the time certainly hasn’t helped things. People instantly expect great things and get on your back that little bit quicker.
I’m a huge fan of Matt’s and have to ask, what do you expect him to do when we have played most of the season without our target man? Matt isn’t a goalscoring winger, so his use comes from his deliveries but with no one in the box to aim for, what should he do?
It seems to be a case of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. If Matt doesn’t see anyone in the box, does he still cross the ball because that’s what the fans want to see? Or does he turn back to keep possession but in turn get criticised for not being forward thinking?
I’m not sure the 4-3-3 with Matt and Downing on the wing, Andy Carroll in the middle and Kevin Nolan just behind the big man works all to well. I think Sam has to make a few big decisions this summer regarding our formation(s) and should he not end up playing a formation that suits Matt, then, yes we will probably have to sell.
I hope it doesn’t come to that because I feel Matt has a lot to offer West Ham and, when utilised correctly, is a great player.
I wrote in a previous column that Big Sam has to build the team around Ravel or sell him and nothing has changed.
He has been in fantastic form at QPR and I certainly hope he gets another chance at West Ham because he has the capabilities to go on and be an outstanding footballer. However, much like my point regarding Jarvis, Sam needs to have a look at our formation, the players we’ve got and play Ravel where he is most suited to.
Due to Sam’s loyalties to Kevin Nolan, I’m not sure Ravel will get that chance to play just in behind the striker and he certainly won’t want to be sitting on the bench, so we may well see Ravel leave Upton Park this summer.
Just want to say congratulations to my former club Leicester on finally earning promotion back to the Premier League.
I was at the club during the glory days of Martin O’Neill and I loved my time there. The fans are superb and they deserve to be playing in the biggest league.
Nigel Pearson has done a brilliant job at the Foxes and it is certainly a lesson for all chairmen/owners/shareholders out there. Last season, everyone was calling for Nigel to be sacked but with a bit of time and patience from the board a manager can build his team, philosophy and tactics.
It does now, however, mean that I now can’t cover three teams in the Premier League for Sky Sports but I don’t mind. I’m delighted to have West Ham, Everton and Leicester, my three favourite teams, in the Premier League together.
Tony Cottee was talking to Forever West Ham’s Editor
Tony’s book ‘West Ham: The Inside Story’ is out NOW and you can order a SIGNED copy from www.ex-hammers.com
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, foreverwestham.com