Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill has suggested that West Ham United loan star Sam Byram could be set for a Hammers comeback next season.
Sky Sports reported last week that the former Leeds United man will be sold this summer, but O’Neill believes a first team return isn’t an impossibility.
“I think Sam has done fine for us, yes,” he told the Nottingham Post. “He is going back to West Ham and I don’t know how that situation is unfolding there. Pablo Zabaleta has just signed a new contract there and they have the young lad, Ryan Fredericks, as well, who used to be at Fulham. He is a nice kid, who has done exceptionally well.
“I do not know what Sam’s precise position is. I have only discussed it with him in three or four sentences. But I think he might think that, now he is properly fit, West Ham might be for him. But we will see.”
Byram’s situation is a strange one, but it’s surely difficult to see him being a first team fixture at West Ham next season. He was once a hot prospect but injuries have derailed his Hammers career and he’s been overtaken by several right backs at the London Stadium. Fredericks is clearly the first choice at the moment, while Zabaleta has signed for another season and is likely to serve as the former Fulham man’s back up next campaign. Then you have Ben Johnson, the young right back who has been exciting everyone within the West Ham academy and who was superb in his first team debut against Manchester City in February. So the path to a first team spot is blocked for Byram at this moment in time. However, O’Neill seems to think that now Byram is fit he could be a fixture in the Hammers team next time round. That seems overly ambitious from the Northern Irishman, and Byram would surely be much better off returning to Forest on a permanent basis this summer.