Daniel Gabbidon heaped praise on West Ham playmaker Pablo Fornals following the Hammers’ 2-0 win over Newport County in the League Cup on Tuesday.
Gabbidon then described Fornals as being a technical player who could open defences up before stating that he thought his performance against Newport saw him stake a claim to be a regular member of Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line-ups.
“I hope so, I mean he’s a fantastic player, we all saw what he did for Spain in the summer in that U-21 tournament,” said Gabbidon on while being a pundit on Sky Sports’ for West Ham’s clash with Newport (21:52, Tuesday, August 27th).
“He’s a technical player, he’s the type of player that Manuel Pellegrini likes, you look at the way West Ham play, they’re very intricate, they keep the ball, they’re patience, very nice in possession, and he’s one of those technical players who is very good and could open defences up.
“As I said Pellegrini has a lot of options to choose from and he has put in a good performance and has staked a claim for a regular place.”
Fornals got his first goal for the Hammers against Newport after joining from Villarreal earlier in the summer, and he generally impressed against the League Two outfit. The 23-year-old saw two of his three efforts on goal hit the target, he made one key passes and maintained a pass completion rate of 84.9% in order to achieve an averaging match rating of 7.66 on WhoScored. Based on WhoScored’s rating system, Fornals was only outperformed by Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson, Roberto Jimenez and Robert Snodgrass during Tuesday outing, and given three of those players are already settled into English football, then it shows how well he did. Pellegrini hasn’t opted to throw Fornals into the deep end since his arrival at the London Stadium as the Hammers manager has only opted to start him in one of the club’s three league games so far. However, it seems Gabbidon believes the 23-year-old did enough to potentially see Pellegrini start to utilise Fornals from the start of matches in the coming weeks, though it’s hard to tell if the Hammers boss will take too much confidence from the Spanish playmaker doing well against a League Two side.