Assessing West Ham United defender Winston Reid and what he is going to look like when he returns from over a year of injuries is a difficult thing to do.
The New Zealand international hasn’t featured for the Hammers since the 2017/18 season, but reliable Irons news source Claret & Hugh reported on Sunday that he could return to action for the Under-23s as soon as next Friday.
That’s tremendous news for him personally and for West Ham as a team, especially if the veteran of 223 appearances for the club [Source: Transfermarkt] can get back to the stellar form he has shown previously in east London.
It’s difficult to say that that is going to happen, though. He’s now 31 years of age and coming off a long stretch on the sidelines, but his potential return to action will be enough to have Hammers fans buzzing.
If he does get back to his best, however, he could be the answer to the centre back question manager Manuel Pellegrini has been asking himself since he arrived at the London Stadium.
History has taught us that Issa Diop is his first choice centre half, but the quandary of who to play alongside the Frenchman out of Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna has been a difficult one for the boss to figure out.
Reid could take the problem away, though. When you look at the statistics from his most recent season of action, 17/18, it suggests that he could well do a job alongside the 22-year-old.
As per WhoScored.com, the veteran is second only to Diop in average tackles per game and the most offsides drawn per outing. Furthermore, he has the second highest clearances per game behind Ogbonna, while recording the second most interceptions.
He’s consistent across the board, which is what Pellegrini wants in place of the oft-times inconsistent duo of Ogbonna and Balbuena. Let’s give Reid some time to get back to match fitness, but his return to Under-23s action could be the start of a wonderful resurgence with the first team.