If there is one West Ham United first team star who faces a make or break summer in the context of his Hammers career, it’s left back Aaron Cresswell.
Towards the end of the season the England international lost his starting spot to teammate Arthur Masuaku, and Football London reported recently that the DR Congo international is currently the favourite to line up on the left and side of the defence on the opening day of the new campaign.
However, Cresswell, on a reported £50,000-per-week [Source: Spotrac], has the advantage this summer. Masuaku is currently away on African Cup of Nations duty, giving the former Ipswich Town man the chance to leapfrog his rival in manager Manuel Pellegrini’s thoughts.
He’ll have to improve on the sorts of displays he offered up this campaign, though. As per WhoScored, Masuaku led the 29-year-old this term in average tackles, interceptions and clearances per game.
Cresswell does have the edge in blocks per game, but that suggests that the Englishman has been forced into more moments of last ditch defending than his 25-year-old counterpart.
Indeed, it’s Masuaku who came away from from the season with a higher average WhoScored rating per game, as can be seen at the bottom of the statistics listed below.
So Cresswell needs to buck his ideas up and seal himself the starting spot this pre season while Masuaku is away in Egypt. If not, it could see West Ham decide to act on the Everton interest reported by Football Insider last month.
This isn’t rocket science; Cresswell simply needs to play better. He has the reputation of being better defensively than the more attack-minded Masuaku, but the statistics have proved the opposite.
If the England star doesn’t respond to this adversity then he could be out on his ear come January. He needs to step up or likely face the end of his Hammers career.