Ryan Fredericks hasn’t always been a darling of the West Ham United crowd, but he very much was on Saturday as he stole the show in his team’s 3-0 victory over Southampton.
Yes, this game heralded a welcome return to form for troubled Hammer Marko Arnautovic, but it was the polarising right back who made the greatest impression at the London Stadium.
Indeed, BBC Sport pundit Jermaine Jenas was hugely impressed by the former Fulham man: “A player who over the last couple of games has really flourished,” he said on Match of the Day [04/05]; 59:25]. “He got the goal he deserved from some poor, sloppy defending from Southampton’s point of view, but from his point of view: another another good day in a West Ham shirt.”
Jenas is absolutely spot on, here. Fredericks was tremendous against the Saints and rightly deserved his goal as he completed the scoring on a very comfortable afternoon at the office for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
He was a constant attacking presence in the first half, bombing forward from right back and making life miserable for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side. They couldn’t live with him and that was very much the case from start to finish, as well.
Pablo Zabaleta signed a one year contract extension with West Ham earlier this week, but you’d have to think that, after this display, the Argentine is merely sticking around to serve as Fredericks’s back up.
At this point in his career the 34-year-old simply cannot replicate the barnstorming performances of a man eight years his junior, like the one Fredericks produced on Saturday.
For Fredericks himself, though, he can reflect on a job well done against the Saints. He must be starting to feel as if he is finally coming into his own after a topsy-turvy debut season in east London. If Saturday was any indication, he’s going to be a first team fixture for a long time to come.