Manuel Lanzini must do more to ensure that he is a vital player for West Ham after the international break, according to Football.London journalist Sam Inkersole.
The 26-year-old has been a mainstay for the Hammers this season after an injury-ravaged campaign last time around, but Inkersole believes he can still do more for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Writing in a post for Football.London, he said: “The Argentine midfielder has had a quiet start to the season so far with no goals so far but he has picked up two assists, which you could argue is what he is in the team to do.
“The lack of goals is a concern and if the Hammers are to achieve their aspirations for this season then Lanzini needs to start finding the scoresheet. The midfielder was particularly quiet in the defeat to Crystal Palace and, prior to his foot injury, wasn’t quite at full tilt.
“On his day, he can be a world beater and he has got the number ten spot locked down ahead of Jack Wilshere and Pablo Fornals and he will be key to West Ham success over the coming month.”
There is no doubting Lanzini’s talent on his day, but Inkersole is justified in suggesting that he still has a gear or two to move into if he is to reach the very top of his game this season. In fairness to the Argentine, he had a very difficult year last season, and he deserves real plaudits for coming back from his ligament injury in the manner that he has. There’s even an argument to be made that he is performing at a decent level. His Whoscored rating of 7.04 is much higher than last year’s 6.72, and is on par with the rating he received in 2017/18 – his last full year of fitness. That being said, it is still some way behind the 7.21 he posted in 2015/16. At the age of 26, he should be in his prime right now, and while you can forgive a little bit of ring rust, the hope will be that he can properly kick on in the next few weeks to start churning out premium displays once more.