Dean Ashton was asked whether West Ham duo Issa Diop and Felipe Anderson were capable of raising their game and potentially playing for a ‘bigger’ club and his answer was questionable.
The Sky Sports pundit claimed that both players could take their game to the next level, but suggested they needed to be more consistent throughout a season as they had only shown glimpses of their ability.
“I think they are,” Ashton told Goal when asked if Anderson and Diop are capable of taking a step up in class at some stage.
“They have shown plenty of glimpses of how good they can be.
“They have been very good signings for West Ham but you still look for consistency and performances and can they do that throughout an entire season? That is when big clubs really start to look at top players, when they are doing it consistently over a whole season.”
While Ashton was asked about both Anderson and Diop at the same time, he should have addressed both players separately, Diop has definitely proven to be consistent, unlike his Brazilian teammate.
In his 2018/19 campaign, the French centre-back featured 33 times, averaging 2.1 tackles per game, 1.9 interceptions and even impressively averaged 4. 1 clearance per game. (Source: WhoScored)
Diop only failed to feature in five league games, the first two games of the season after he had just joined the club, and three games near the end of the season where his form dipped.
The slight dip in form could have been a result of tiredness and games catching up to him as after all, it was his debut campaign in England so the league’s pace as well as it’s demands do catch footballers off guard.
It’s also worth pointing out that after being reinstalled into the team after the three games rest, he was his usual self again.
The fact Pellegrini hardly dropped Diop or even subbed the defender, he played 90 minutes in all of his league outings, shows how consistently good he was. (Source: Transfermarkt)
Diop has started his 2019/20 campaign in a similar fashion as he has played every minute of the Hammers’ Premier League campaign so far and has averaged 1.2 tackles, 1.6 interceptions as well 4.1 clearances across his outings. (Source: WhoScored)
The numbers are only just slightly down on the numbers he achieved by the time last season’s ended, which implies consistency, barring tackles where there is a notable drop.
The Hammers lost the first four league games of the season in the 2018/19 campaign so it’s easy to suggest Diop has had to make fewer tackles so far due to his side getting off to a better start.
Now when you look at Anderson, it’s easy to see him and Diop shouldn’t be grouped together when it comes to consistency.
The 26-year-old’s form has been all over the place this season, hence why he’s only completed 90 minutes on two occasions, and his ratings on WhoScored for his displays range from 8.41 to a dreadful 6.39.
It was a similar story last season as well, hence why Anderson at times would be subbed early in games despite racking up 40 appearances across all competitions. (Source: WhoScored)
So with that in mind, while Ashton may be right to say both players have another level in them, he’s surely wrong to imply Diop can unlock his potential by being more consistent as he’s already ticking that box, unlike Anderson.